Duncan resumes work on batting stroke

Duncan resumes work on stroke

JUPITER, Fla. -- A day after taking a breather, Chris Duncan was back at it harder than ever on Sunday.

The slumping Cardinals outfielder spent most of the afternoon bouncing from one Minor League game to another on the back fields of the Roger Dean Stadium complex. Duncan got eight plate appearances in various games before heading into the main stadium for two more. He said he went 3-for-6 with a pair of walks in the Minor League games, before going 0-for-1 with a walk in the Cardinals' loss to the Braves.

It's been a rough spring for Duncan, who is 1-for-24 (.042) in Grapefruit League play. He sat out five days with a back injury, and since his return, he hasn't been able to shake his extended slump.

"I just need at-bats," he said. "I don't even have that many at-bats. The first couple games I felt all right, and then all of a sudden, I miss [five] games in a row. You go five days without seeing a pitch, and you're starting from scratch again. Hitting's not easy. That's what Spring Training is for -- to get your timing down."

Manager Tony La Russa acknowledged that Duncan has been scuffling, and was pleased to hear of Duncan's successful day on the back fields.

"He hasn't really been hitting the ball well," La Russa said. "he's struggling. But he's working on it, and he'll dial it in."

Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.