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By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
Topic - Mike Barnett
The entire Houston Astros coaching staff will remain intact for next season after the team agreed to one-year contracts with pitching coach Doug Brocail and hitting coach Mike Barnett on Tuesday.
The Houston Astros hit 108 home runs last year, the fewest in the NL and ahead of only the Seattle Mariners' 101.
"It's very important," said Mike Barnett, Houston's new hitting coach. "But how you go about it is the key. It's not just a matter of taking pitches. To me, walks and on-base percentage are more a product of understanding your approach, what your strengths are. If you can do that, then hopefully you'll start to see your walk numbers go up."
"A lot of it is allowing yourself to get deeper into counts by not swinging at what (the pitcher) wants to get you out with," Barnett said. "A fastball, down-away at the knees, that's not a high-percentage pitch to have success with. But if you bring him into the middle of the plate, you work deeper into counts, and before you know it, you're starting to walk more."