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Cozart's average dips after hit-by-pitch

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WASHINGTON -- A little more than a week ago, Reds shortstop Zack Cozart was batting .246 with four home runs and 10 RBIs and coming off three consecutive multihit games. In his past five games, he is 2-for-26 (.077).

Cozart was hit by a pitch in the 13th inning of Cincinnati's 3-2 win over Miami on April 20, bruising two fingers on his right hand. X-rays on the fingers were negative, and Cozart only missed one game. He says the injury is not to blame for his recent struggles at the plate.

"There's a little bruising, but for the most part, I thought it was going to be a lot worse," Cozart said before Saturday's game. "Hitting the ball hard, that's all I can really do. I know I'm struggling, but we're not even through April yet."

Since being hit by the pitch on an attempted bunt, Cozart's batting average has sunk to .198. He went 1-for-4 on Saturday with a single in the sixth inning. But Reds manager Dusty Baker said his shortstop is simply going through a rough patch, nothing more.

"He's just not swinging good," Baker said. "You guys come up with all these [numbers]. I tell my guys, quit counting. If you count, you're going to go 1-for-23.

"You just accept what's coming. You accept it. It's like surfing. When you catch a good wave, you just ride it all the way to the beach and then get off. If you start wondering about when you're going to fall off, you're going to fall off. Just ride it and start anew, start a new day."

Tom Schad is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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