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Yaz not averse to change; Padre pitcher hits too; rim in spotlight

Throughout their careers, most of baseball's great hitters kept the same batting stance. Hank Aaron stuck with a classic, upright style, Willie Mays maintained the wide-track look, and Stan Musial never wavered from his relaxed, question-mark posture. Carl Yastrzemski, then, is the exception -- the established star who discarded his own success formula.

For years, he employed a very awkward-looking stance, holding his bat almost above his head. Two seasons ago he went to a forward lean with the bat at chest height. Now, at the urging of Red Sox batting coach Walt Hriniak, Yaz has gotten around to adopting a stance that for him is peculiarly normal. In his 22 nd big league season, he's batting with his weight evenly distributed, hands at a comfortable height, and bat angled back over his left shoulder.

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Yaz experimented with the new stance throughout spring training until it finally felt right. The chief beneficiary of the switch so far has been his batting average, which at .327 is 81 points higher than last season's. He also has seven home runs.

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