DETROIT -- Jim Leyland readily admits he "loves" Brennan Boesch. He sees big-time potential in the outfielder. But this season, he's been the player the manager is most confused about.
Boesch is batting .244 with 12 home runs after posting a .283 average and clubbing 16 homers in an injury-shortened 2011 season. As a result, Boesch has gone from the permanent solution in right field to a platoon hitter.
When Leyland was asked why Boesch continues to struggle, he said, "I don't really know how to answer that."
"Right now, he's just not swinging good at all," Leyland said. "We have two guys working with Boesch actually, trying to come up with something. The only thing I know, without trying to sound critical because it's not, but the only thing I know is that he's just not getting the barrel of the bat to the ball out front."
Hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and hitting assistant Toby Harrah are working with Boesch. However, the success watching film and in the batting cage hasn't translated to the game.
"Toby and Mac think that he's just not getting [his swing] started [early enough]," Leyland said. "It crossed my mind that -- he's a sensitive guy so I want to be careful -- but it crossed my mind that he was strikeout conscious and was trying to just wait not to strikeout. I don't know if that's part of it or not. I just don't have an answer.
"Maybe he's afraid of charging and swinging at a bad pitch, I really don't know. They say that he's just not getting started, but it seems to me that if you're not getting started -- as long as they have worked with him and everything and told him you're not getting it started -- by now he'd get it started. ... It's a puzzling situation, really."
Boesch was out of the lineup for the second straight game. Leyland elected to go with Quintin Berry on Tuesday and Avisail Garcia on Wednesday.