Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/20/12

During his struggles in the first half of last season, there were rumblings that perhaps switch-hitting Colorado Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler should stop hitting left-handed. His swing from that side was too long, skeptics said, and he would do better to put all his efforts into hitting from his natural side.

After all, Fowler didn't start switch-hitting until after he began working out with rookie-level Casper in 2004. That was shortly after the Rockies signed him but too late to play in that 2004 season.

Fowler saw it the other way: that he had put in a lot of time learning how to hit left-handed, and that switch-hitting gave him an advantage, since it's always better to have a breaking pitch coming toward rather than away from you while batting. He was adamant about continuing to switch-hit.

Fowler ended up getting sent to Class AAA Colorado Springs to hone his swing in both 2010 and 2011, but he had a magnificent second half for the Rockies last season.

Fowler has been a streaky hitter, and for a leadoff hitter, his strikeouts are high. But all that talk of Fowler just hitting right-handed seems in the distant past, and this season, no refresher course in the minors will be needed. And it's worth remembering, Fowler is just 26.

He is hitting .303 with 11 doubles, nine triples, a career-high 12 homers, 39 RBI and 47 runs. His on-base percentage is .391. Yes, he does have a team-leading 76 strikeouts, an average of one every 3.6 at-bats.

Fowler's right-left splits are no longer alarmingly skewed. Indeed, he's hitting .309 in 94 at-bats right-handed with a .393 on-base percentage and .300 in 180 at-bats left-handed with a .390 on-base percentage. He is averaging one strikeout every 5.2 at-bats right-handed and one every 3.1 left-handed.

Last Sunday, the Rockies faced Phillies left-handed ace Cole Hamels. Fowler entered the game 0-for-10 against Hamels but singled in each of his first two at-bats and finished 2-for-4 against Hamels, who allowed a total of just four hits to the other Rockies hitters he faced.

"I've had a lot of trouble with Hamels, so I looked at some video before the game and tried to figure out how he's been attacking me," Fowler said. "I just tried to make sure and lay off that changeup."

Fowler will carry a five-game hitting streak into Friday's game at San Diego. He has hit safely in nine of his past 10 games beginning July 5. During that stretch, Fowler is 17-for-39 (.436) with one double, two homers, four RBI and four runs.

"It's a blessing to put everything together," Fowler said, "but I just have to go out and keep on working. That's the big thing, getting better each day. It's tough over a long season, but you have to keep it going."

Fowler by and large has kept it going since the All-Star break last year. In the second half of 2011, he hit .288 in 271 at-bats with 22 doubles, 10 triples, five homers, 27 RBI, 51 runs and a .381 on-base percentage.

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