Switch-hitting catchers old and young

Henri Lartigue did plenty on opening weekend to gain favor with Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco.

The fact that Bianco, like Lartigue is now, was a switch-hitting catcher in college probably adds to the good feeling.

More on the sophomore Lartigue, who hit .400 and scored four times against William and Mary, in the Mother Ship tomorrow.

For now, I asked Bianco at what point do you become a switch hitter?

“If you investigate there’s probably a dad who tells him he’s got to bat from both sides, maybe a guy who grew up watching Mickey Mantle and Pete Rose or something like that. I started switch-hitting seriously in games the summer between 13 and 14 (years old). It takes a lot of practice, a lot of getting used to. I don’t think it’s just an innate talent where you’re born with it,” he said.

And just because you’re a switch hitter it doesn’t mean you’re always as confident from both sides of the plate.

“You may get to a point sometimes where you feel better from the left or the right. When you swing from both sides at this level, you just feel that’s who you are. People that don’t do it think it’s so unnatural. People that do it think it would be unusual to bat only one way, that it would be unnatural to bat left-handed against a left-handed pitcher.”

Switch-hitting also doubles your work load in practice.

“A normal kid takes 200 cuts a day. He’s going to swing 400 times a day,” Bianco said.

Lartigue got off to a fast start on opening weekend, and his switch-hitting ability makes him a “viable candidate” to keep the DH role in which he started twice against William and Mary, Bianco said.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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