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Perry downplays impact with Cubs

Perry downplays impact with Cubs

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CHICAGO -- Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry doesn't like to look at the numbers. He doesn't like to talk about hitting, especially to someone who's not in the lineup.

But Perry is having a definite influence on the Cubs, who lead the National League in several offensive categories, including batting average, runs, on-base percentage and runners in scoring position.

It isn't just the addition of Kosuke Fukudome, who is seventh in the NL in on-base percentage, or Reed Johnson, or even Jim Edmonds. But Perry downplays his impact. He doesn't tell batters to look for a walk -- they're looking for a good pitch to hit, and the aim is to attack until you get that pitch.

"It's being selective in a good hitting zone," Perry said. "Most of that could depend on the better hitting counts you get into. You have a better chance to get a good pitch to drive at 2-0, 3-0 as opposed to going after a pitcher's pitch early in the count. I try to let guys know where the pitch was that they hit, and that kind of stuff, and give my opinion throughout the game."

Aramis Ramirez is a good example of the Cubs' patient approach. He has 41 walks heading into Friday's Interleague game against the White Sox. His single-season high is 50. He ranks sixth in the NL with a .405 on-base percentage.

"If I don't get my pitch, I'm not going to swing at it," Ramirez said. "I actually have been swinging at a lot of bad pitches lately. I've got to get back in the zone and just swing at strikes."

This didn't happen overnight.

"You mature as a hitter," Ramirez said. "I know I've matured as a hitter. I've got a better idea at the plate."

Maybe that's because he just turned 30 on Wednesday.

"I feel like I'm 25," Ramirez said, laughing.

"He has a good eye," Perry said of the Cubs third baseman. "The only thing he's going to do is, I try to remind him to take a walk, and not get yourself out and that kind of stuff. He doesn't strike out. He usually puts the ball in play. I have to keep an eye on him so he doesn't go after pitchers' pitches and get himself out."

Ramirez is coming off a .435 homestand in which he hit four homers, drove in 10 and walked twice. He's on pace to reach 100 RBIs again.

Perry gives all the credit to the hitters.

"They're the ones doing it," Perry said.

But hasn't he looked at the team numbers -- the Cubs are second in the Majors in with a .289 average with runners in scoring position.

"I try not to look," Perry said, laughing. "I feel like I jinx it. I just take it one game at a time."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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