Feliciano Back to Basics

Through the season's early months, Jesus Feliciano picked up where he left off with the Zephyrs in 2007. He was spraying the ball around and proving to be a valuable tablesetter atop the New Orleans order. However, a mid-season lull knocked him off course but through concentrated work with his hitting coach, he is back to hitting at a high average and getting on base.

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New Orleans's left-handed hitter, Jesus Feliciano, is spending his second season with the Zephyrs learning to control his aggressiveness at the plate. While the 28-year-old outfielder has 59 runs and the highest average on the team with .319, he still needs to work on his control and pitch selection as he only has one homer on the season.

Feliciano has had a high average all season, however he had a significant lower batting average in May and June and is now fighting back from that pause.

"Sometimes you just need to take a second breath in the middle of the season. I was feeling a little bit tired and I was trying too much," Feliciano said.

Feliciano's mid-season breath has helped him improve from a .303 batting average before the All-Star break to a .413 average after the break going into Wednesday night, and his 46 strikeouts are minimal considering the 113 games he has played for New Orleans.

"I make a lot of contact, and I don't strike out that much. I'm very aggressive, but sometimes I get too aggressive and when you get too aggressive that's bad too, you need to be somewhere in between," Feliciano said.

Working with hitting Coach Jack Voigt and controlling his swing has helped Feliciano put up such a strong average at the end of July.

"Talking to Jack Voigt and working hard in the cage," Feliciano said of his strategies of controlling his aggressiveness and improvement at the plate. "[Voigt] was telling me to do the same thing I was doing earlier in the season and that's what I've been trying to do. Stay aggressive but under control."

The pressure position of being the lead off man in the batting order, has not affected Feliciano's play. In fact, batting first is a position that he is familiar with and comfortable occupying.

"During my career I've pretty much always been the lead off guy, but this year I've been hitting everywhere. But I'm used to hitting as the lead off," Feliciano said.

Feliciano has played up and down the batting order for the Zephyrs, but since he is most comfortable with batting first, he hasn't changed much in his approach at the plate.

"Right now I'm not doing anything different from what I was doing earlier in the season," he said.

However Feliciano has had to learn to become more patient in his spot in the line-up.

"I have to be a little more patient some times, it depends on the situation but I just try to have the same approach as always," he said.

Earlier in the season during an interview with Feliciano he was looking forward to stealing more bases this season as he is early in the line up.

"I think I need to work a little on stealing more bases," Feliciano said earlier in the season. "I'm hitting more in the top of the line up right now so I can do a lot more."

Feliciano is doing more, as he has nine stolen bases so far in the season, up from the five he had for the Zephyrs last year.

As a veteran for the Zephyrs and with nine years in the minors, Feliciano is still looking for his call up to the big leagues. Feliciano's two years in New Orleans have been impressive as he consistently batted over .300.

"Right now I just want to keep playing hard because I want to get the chance to play at the next level. I hope it will be this year but if not I would keep playing hard," Feliciano said.

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