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McCann looking for more consistent contact

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ANAHEIM -- The defensive shifts that clog up the right side of the diamond during Brian McCann's at-bats are not going away anytime soon, a reality of this modern era of baseball that the Yankees' catcher has come to accept.

Instead of being frustrated by the situation, McCann is trying to adapt, and he acknowledged on Wednesday that he has consciously been trying to go the other way with pitches more often.

"I've been trying to work the ball to the whole field," McCann said. "The whole left side of the field is open. Maybe I'm trying to force it too much over there."

McCann was not in the Yankees' lineup on Wednesday, and entered the day hitless in his last 12 at-bats. He carried a .209 average and four homers and 12 RBIs into the series finale, and his .589 OPS ranked last among the 15 qualified Major League catchers.

"It's a give and take sometimes when you're hitting," McCann said. "Basically, I've got to get better. That's the bottom line. I've got to be more productive."

While the results haven't yet followed, McCann does not appear to be stubbornly insisting on hitting the ball into the shift, though he wouldn't mind lacing a few line drives through it in the near future.

McCann even attempted a bunt in the second inning of Monday's 4-1 Yankees loss at Angel Stadium, rolling a foul ball up the third-base line against Jered Weaver.

"We had a guy on first base and no outs," said McCann, who bounced into a fielder's choice later in the at-bat. "First and second and no outs looks pretty good."

While McCann would like to be known as a hitter who can go to the opposite field with regularity, he also believes that barreling some pitches up will help turn his numbers around quickly.

"If you're consistently backing balls up, the shift is going to take some hits away from you, but it shouldn't take two hits away from you a night," McCann said. "Better consistent contact is what I need to be doing."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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