Barney, Sveum put in some private hitting time

Barney, Sveum put in some private hitting time

CHICAGO -- Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney, stuck in an 0-for-21 skid, took time Wednesday to hit the ball hard.

Manager Dale Sveum and Barney had an early hitting session at Wrigley Field in which the Cubs manager wanted his infielder to try to relax.

"It was nice to bring him out today and let him hit and not think about any mechanics, and get a mindset about hitting the ball as hard as he can," Sveum said. "There were no mechanics going on out there."

Sveum and Barney spent time together in Arizona for one week to work on the second baseman's swing, but whatever they did at that time has been "abandoned," the manager said. The goal on Wednesday was to take some "brand new white balls and hit them as far as you can," Sveum said.

Barney was batting .147 with a .275 on-base percentage.

"It's confidence as much as anything," Sveum said of the second baseman's problems, "and understanding your job is to hit the ball hard and not try to do something with it every at-bat, just get a good pitch and hit it hard instead of trying to hit it to this field or that field or whatever. That was [the goal Wednesday]: to have one mindset, hit the ball as hard as you can."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.