DETROIT -- J.D. Martinez was batting just .181 (13-for-72) since the All-Star break until this week. He entered Friday's series opener against Seattle with a 5-for-14 stretch over his last four games, including a go-ahead solo homer Thursday for just his third home run of the season's second half.
Whether it gets Martinez going on a hitting tear again remains to be seen, but it at least seems to be the sign of being more comfortable at the plate.
That, he believes, comes from his footwork and a bad habit he seemingly developed.
"Me and [assistant hitting coach] Darnell Coles, we were working really hard on not crossing my front foot," Martinez said. "It seemed like I've been crossing it a lot more and just hitting a lot of ground balls to the left side of the field, which when I'm going good I'm not doing."
By getting his front foot going across his body, his swing was much less direct.
"It's hard to say north-to-south when you're taking an east-to-west movement," he said. I felt like my swing [Thursday] was more towards the pitcher and not towards third base or shortstop."
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Matt Slovin contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.