Through 53 games this season, Jared Mitchell was lost.
“I was actually seeing the ball really well, but I was so bad with my timing that once I made the decision to swing, everything was off, everything was out of whack and didn’t play,” said Mitchell.
Through of June 14th, the 25-year-old was batting just .199 and had struck out in exactly half of his at-bats (78 of 156).
The following day, he was reassigned to Class AA Birmingham.
There, the former White Sox No. 1 prospect rediscovered his timing and rhythm at the plate, and he's returned to Charlotte looking more like the player Chicago thought it was getting with its first-round pick in 2009.
At no time was the change in Mitchell more apparent than in his first at-bat in Friday’s 7-1 Knights win over the Norfolk Tides in front a sold-out crowd of 10,448 at BB&T BallPark.
Mitchell worked the count full against Tides’ starter Tyler Wilson and then fouled off four pitches before taking a slider inside for ball four.
The 10-pitch at-bat – one he likely wouldn’t have been able to put up back in June – set the tone for the Knights to take a lead in first inning that they would never relinquish.
“The improved timing has cleaned up my bat path,” he said. “When I’m on time, I don’t need to rush to get to pitches, so I’m able to see pitches deeper, so it’s helped that way.”
Wilson – clearly frustrated that he’d lost Mitchell – started the Knights’ next batter, Marcus Semien, off with two straight balls before running the count full.
Wanting to avoid back-to-back walks, he came with a fastball over the heart of the plate and the result was a 350-foot home run that sent fans scattering.
In 19 games since his return, Mitchell's hit .312 (25-for-80) with three home runs, 13 runs scored, 12 RBIs and 21 strikeouts.
“No one wants to go down a level, but I saw it as another opportunity,” Mitchell said.
NOTE: Carlos Sanchez was recalled to Chicago. Taking his roster spot is infielder Dan Wagner (South Rowan), who moved up from Class AA Birmingham.
• Pitcher Eric Surkamp was optioned to Charlotte.
Hickory 5, Hagerstown 1: Michael De Leon led off the first with a solo home run for the host Crawdads.
West Virginia 10, Kannapolis 5: An eight-run eighth boosted the host Power.
Knights 7, Tides 1
|De Jesus ss||3||0||1||0|
E — Doran. 2B–Phegley, Davidson. HR—Semien, Richmond. SB–Mitchell.
WP-Wilson, Yoon, Doran 2. HBP-Davidson. T-2:54. A-10,448.
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