PITTSBURGH — Gregory Polanco is 6-foot-5. This season, he would like to be a little bit shorter.

Polanco, of course, is not talking about his physical height. He seems just okay with that, even if it does involve an occasional duck when boarding the team’s airplane. When Polanco says he’d like to be shorter, what he’s talking about is his swing.

A short swing is a direct swing, one where the path the bat travels from its resting position to the place where the barrel makes contact with the ball is in a straight line, instead of a long, looping motion. For a tall player that already has long arms, a long swing can open up some pretty big holes for pitchers to put fastballs through. A shorter swing should result in fewer swings and misses and fewer strikeouts.

There’s also another a...

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