Cozart catching up, finding spring swing

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Reds shortstop Zack Cozart isn't worried about hitting Spring Training home runs. All he's cared about lately is getting ahold of a pitch and doing some damage.

Cozart snapped a 1-for-14 skid to start spring on Monday with a homer to left field against D-backs starter Brandon McCarthy.

"Obviously, I haven't hit the way I've wanted to so far," Cozart said on Tuesday. "I'm not going up there trying to do too much. I'm trying to get my timing back. Yesterday was a product of me being on time and putting a good swing on it. It feels good not just to hit a home run, but to hit the ball hard and getting that feel for hitting the ball hard. That's what Spring Training is all about."

During a 1-for-2 day on Tuesday vs. the Angels, Cozart lined a second-inning double to left field in his first at-bat.

Cozart, 27, batted .246 with 15 homers and 35 RBIs in 138 games last season during his rookie year. He has the added security of knowing he'll likely be the regular shortstop in the long term with prospect Billy Hamilton being moved to center field and Didi Gregorius traded to Arizona in the offseason.

"In the past, I've had to come in and hit well and prove to Dusty [Baker, manager] and Walt [Jocketty, general manager] that I could play," Cozart said. "Now they know what they're getting from me, I am thinking I'm going to improve that much more. It's easier to use Spring Training for what it's for -- getting ready for April 1."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.