It's helping him track the ball, he said. More importantly, it's helping him focus on hitting the ball hard. It's not that he wasn't trying to do that before, but after his early slump, he got out of that mind-set and focused too much energy into his mechanics.
"Sometimes when you don't get a base hit, you think it's because of the mechanics," Renteria said, "and you end up changing everything, and everything gets in the way. When you change the mechanics, you're down. You have to get the feeling [at the plate] again, and when you have the feeling again, you have to keep doing it every time."
Renteria feels like he has that now, and he's trying to keep his focus simple.
"See the ball, hit it hard," Renteria said, "wherever it goes."
That was evident during the weekend series against the White Sox. Of his five hits over the three games, four were well-hit line drives. He one-hopped the right-field fence with an opposite-field drive off Gavin Floyd on Friday, then after a pair of line-drive singles Saturday, he smacked a double to the depths of center field against Javier Vazquez on Sunday to go along with a bunt single.
He was even happy with some of his outs, including a line drive to second in his first time up on Sunday.
"That's OK," Renteria said. "That's what I want to do: Hit it hard, wherever it goes."
Renteria has always had the reputation of a hard worker who has been quick to embrace extra hitting. He was working so much this year that manager Jim Leyland admittedly wondered if Renteria was actually working too much.
"He says he feels better when he works out," Leyland said.
Plus, when he was working in the cage, hitting coach Lloyd McClendon was working with him on some things he had noticed.
For now, it's paying off.
"Anytime when you work hard and you don't see things go right, there's a little disappointment," Renteria said. "That's all I can do, work hard and try to do the best I can do. If I'm working hard, that's OK. If I'm not working and I'm doing bad, I'm going to feel bad. All I can do is work hard and try to play the game hard."