The ground ball and line drive were not a major part of Moreno's repertoire last season. In attempting to pull, he developed a loop in his swing, the result being more than 200 fly-ball outs. "Omar was hitching his hands way down. Then, to compensate, he was rolling his upper body back and opening his hips too quickly," said Walker, who leaned back to mime an off-balance batter trying unsuccessfully to get the bat around. He began to analyze each pitch Moreno hit.
"See what I'm talking about, how he got that bat out? That's a base hit in the hole."
"Now that's what I'm trying to get him to do. That ball was a little tough, but whack, a line shot."
Moreno lets one go low and inside.
"That ball you take. That ball he swings at and misses—and strikes out on 100-odd times a year. You lay off that pitch unless you've got two strikes."
"That's what you want! You see that? Force the pitcher to give me the ball where I can bang it."
There were no miracles in Birmingham. But the Walker-Moreno combination has proved successful in the past. "If Omar hits .265 to .280, he'll improve tremendously," the Hat said. "Cut down on his strikeouts from 121 to maybe 80. Walk more. He should be on base 20 to 30 times more, and that means he'll steal 10 more bases, maybe 15." Moreno was confident of a comeback. "I've got a feeling I'm going to hit .280, maybe .300, so I can steal over 100 bases. The more I get on base, the more I steal."