"If the guys on the corners — the first baseman and third baseman — are playing back, it is a good time to lay down a base hit bunt," the 2015 All-Star says. "One thing I have a problem with is I try to hurry out of the box before I actually put the bat on the ball. Try to slow everything down, with as little movement as possible in the hands and feet. When you do that, you're able to keep your head more still and see the ball better. I've always tried to keep my head and my bat moving together.
"I try to throw a base hit bunt down as close to the last minute as I can without being too rushed and messing up my technique. But if I'm doing a sacrifice bunt, I square around a little bit earlier. I'm not trying to surprise people." When deciding where to bunt, he takes into account the fielding skill of the first baseman and third baseman, as well as the pitcher.
When it's time to lay one down, Gardner's technique is similar on both types of bunts. "I like to keep the bat out in front of me, as flat as possible," he says. "For a sacrifice, you want to bunt it more off the end of the bat so the ball is deadened and doesn't come off the bat as hard. I like to keep my bottom hand on the knob and slide my top hand up to the label. Some guys move both hands, but I like to keep my bottom hand on the knob. I can control the bat a little better."
Photo: Anthony Gruppuso/USA Today Sports