Will MLB’s upcoming ban on shifts revive the lost art of switch-hitting?

CINCINNATI — When new San Francisco Giants catcher Michael Papierski began switch-hitting, he was just a tyke.

“My dad had a cage in our basement,” Papierski said. “I’m naturally righty, and when I was 8 years old, I’d take one swing righty and two swings lefty. When I was 12, I started hitting from both sides in games.

“My junior year of college, they tried to make me just a righty, and I struggled. Every slider, I thought it was going to hit me right in the head. It was shell shock. I did about a month of that and went back to switch-hitting. Yes, I do think it helps me.”

Papierski is a rarity, the only player on the Giants’ 40-man roster who switch hits. The Oakland Athletics have only Jed Lowrie and Skye Bolt. The Giants have two minor-league switch-hitters above Class A. The A’s have one.

The days of the 1980s Cardinals, who had five switch-hitters in their everyday lineup, are long gone. Even the Giants’ championship teams had a good chunk of switch-hitters playing every day: Pablo Sandoval, Angel Pagan, Melky Cabrera and Andres Torres.

But these days, why would anyone want to switch hit? Why would anyone want to bat left-handed when there is an equal ability to bat right-handed?

Baseball News

Yes, it’s a benefit when it comes to matchups and avoiding platooning. A switch-hitter, when batting left-handed against a right-handed pitcher — and…

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