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Schmidt's Slumpbuster strikes out with Phillies

Mike Schmidt struck out with the Phillies Saturday.

Schmidt, one of Philadelphia's all-time stars, visited camp to promote "The Mike Schmidt Slumpbuster."

After a 20-minute demonstration, manager Jim Fregosi and hitting coach Denis Menke concluded that the theory behind the Slumpbuster contradicts the hitting technique they teach.

"They would like to see an aggressive movement toward the ball," Schmidt said. "Our machine would teach the exact opposite of that."

The machine, which costs slightly less than $900, is designed to get hitters to keep their hands and bodies back to promote what Schmidt called the one-part swing.

"The central theory is universal in baseball: hands back, soft stride; soft stride, quick hands; slow feet, fast hands. They're all common denominators in the history of hitting," Schmidt said. "This teaches that. If you've got a kid who strides soft and keeps his hands back, he can hit."

Hitters step onto a 4-inch, hard plastic platform. A rope is attached to the bat at the handle.

The part of the platform closest to the mound is actually two layers hinged together, with an electrical contact between the two.

A hitter takes his stride onto the hinged section, and if his hands remain back, the stride produces a buzzer noise. If the hands come forward, there is no noise.

Buster Sanchez, developer of the device, said the Slumpbuster has been used with success by a Miami-area high school and the University of Miami.

Aside from the Slumpbuster, Schmidt said his biggest project is coaching his son's junior varsity team at the Benjamin School in North Palm Beach.

He spends much of his other time fishing or playing golf.

"I golf, I fish, I coach a baseball team, I enjoy Florida," he said. "I'm a lucky man."

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