In the early days of spring training, the work began for shortstop Cliff Pennington and hitting coach Don Baylor around 7:30 a.m., in the batting cages behind the Diamondbacks clubhouse at Salt River Fields. Pennington was coming off a down year with the Oakland A’s, He was ready to work.

“He wants to get better,” Baylor said. “He hasn’t missed a morning yet.”

It is still the first week of March — grains of salt should be taken liberally — and the work for the two men continues every morning, but the results in the afternoons, in the games, is encouraging.

“I’m feeling good,” Pennington said. “He and I have been working on it every day. It’s getting a lot better. It’s still not where we want it to be for the season, but it’s getting there.”

Pennington had a rough go of it last season with the Oakland A’s, hitting .215 in 462 plate appearances and ultimately losing his everyday job at shortstop. He started to hit better late in the season, but his end-of-season numbers remained unsightly, and the A’s opted to move on, dealing him to the Diamondbacks for outfielder Chris Young.

Pennington, a switch-hitter, said he and Baylor have been working on shortening his swing from both sides of the plate and on trying to pull the ball more often, rather than staying inside pitches and shooting them to the opposite field.