MESA, Ariz. -- Last spring, Mike Olt struggled to bat .194. On Tuesday, he collected his first Cactus League home run in just his third at-bat and it wasn't a relief as much as affirmation that everything is going well.
Olt, hoping to find a spot on the Cubs' Opening Day roster, belted a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning of a 6-4 victory over the Athletics.
"I've been feeling good at the plate the last couple days and as long as I'm feeling comfortable, I think good things will come," Olt said.
The infielder was dealing with vision problems last year, although it took him awhile to figure that out.
"I usually start off a little slow," Olt said. "[Last year] I didn't start putting it together [that there was a problem] until I was probably 0-for-40 with 25, 30 [strikeouts], and that's when I started to put it together a little. I did notice a difference in Spring Training. When the season started and I got the adrenaline going, that's when I noticed [something was wrong]."
He went 6-for-31 in 19 spring games last year with the Rangers, including two home runs, and actually fanned only 12 times. It just felt like 30 K's. He was assigned to Triple-A Round Rock, where he continued to struggle, batting .213. Texas included Olt as one of the four players in the deal to get Matt Garza from the Cubs.
Tuesday's home run was another step in Olt's comeback.
"It's really not me getting hits," he said. "It's about me seeing the ball well and that's my main goal in Spring Training. Obviously, you want hits and you want to perform, but the main goal in Spring Training is to get comfortable and it's definitely a noticeable difference just the way I feel right now, and that's what I'm happy about."
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.Less