Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs' Barney on Jaramillo: ``Taught me how to hit in the big leagues''

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Players talking in the wake of Rudy Jaramillo's firing Tuesday expressed remorse over not performing well enough as a team to keep their hitting coach employed, but also of a legacy he left behind in 2 ½ years with the team.

``Rudy's one of those guys who almost took my career to the next level,'' second baseman Darwin Barney said of the only big-league hitting coach he has had. ``He taught me how to hit in the big leagues. But I guess there's a time and a place, and it's time.

``The hard thing as an offensive player, you feel that can be part of your responsibility. But that's part of baseball. You hope you can go on and succeed.''

First-year Cubs manager Dale Sveum was part of the decision-making process and one of the team officials to inform Jaramillo.

``It's been a tough 24 hours thinking about it and then telling a great man with an outstanding hitting coach career,'' Sveum said. ``I think we all have to suffer the consequences of the results. Rudy never changed. He worked as hard as any coach I've seen. We're just searching for a different philosophy or message.''

Team president Theo Epstein said that's what the move boiled down to: the desire to move from a more mechanical-based approach to a ``selectively aggressive'' message that gets players to see more pitches.

``Rudy and I talked about that - how to take walks while still being aggressive,'' Barney said. ``Hopefully, over time, it's something that gets better.''

Barney, Alfonso Soriano and Bryan LaHair have been some of Jaramillo's successes with the Cubs.

``I learned a lot from Rudy - separation of hands and balance,'' LaHair said. ``I'm glad I know now what I'm doing.''

Said Soriano, who's been on a power surge for three weeks: ``What he did for me, positioning my foot different, I saw results with him. I felt comfortable with him. But I don't have control over that situation. The general manager and manager have control.''

Bottom line, LaHir said, ``At the end of the day it's our job to perform. We can do a better job of scoring runs, but maybe there's a difference in philosophy between Rudy and the staff. Rudy's really good at what he does, and I'm sure he'll find a job.''

Said Barney: ``You can't think `It's my fault' or `his fault.' But that's the reality of it. Butyou can't blame yourself.''

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on June 12, 2012 10:08 PM.

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