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Nats’ hitting coach: Kieboom’s LASIK eye surgery is ‘working’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Nationals went into spring training hoping to see some progress out of 23-year-old third baseman Carter Kieboom. So far, he’s left a good impression.
Hitting coach Kevin Long revealed Tuesday that Kieboom underwent LASIK eye surgery over the offseason after he hit .202 with no home runs in 33 games last year. Two weeks into spring training, Long has noticed a tangible difference in Kieboom’s approach at the plate.
“He did some stuff with his eyes and he’s seeing the ball better,” Long said on a Zoom call. “He’s not squinting and apparently the LASIK that he had is working. His swing, putting his hands back into a better position, he looks good. So we’ll continue to monitor Carter and seeing where he’s at but mentally, which I think is more important than anything right now, he’s in a very, very good position.”
Washington plans to give Kieboom every opportunity to hold down the starting job at third base. The 2016 first-round pick out of Walton High School in Marietta, Georgia, has succeeded at nearly every level of the minors but has yet to adapt to major-league pitching. Now that he’s seeing the ball more clearly, Long is optimistic about his chances.
“He’s got a different feel about him,” Long said. “He’s much more confident than I expected him to come into spring training being. He’s loose, I like the way he’s going about it right now and that’s just from like a confidence and looking-at-him standpoint. He seems to be in a much better spot than I ever saw him in last year.”
Kieboom dealt with separate groin and hand injuries in 2020. He was also learning a new position after spending almost his entire minor-league career at shortstop. There were several factors that may have contributed to his lack of success at the dish, but this year he has a clean slate.
No longer held back by his vision, Kieboom will look to take full advantage.