NEW YORK -- Michael Conforto's swing -- the short, compact left hook Keith Hernandez compares to Don Mattingly's -- was sculpted late in the night of Northwest winters.
As a teenager, Conforto played for Ray Atkinson's Seattle-based travel teams in the summer. When the temperature dropped, Conforto showed up after football practice (he played quarterback and safety) multiple times a week to Atkinson's batting cage in nearby Maltby, to swing as his teeth chattered. Regulars nicknamed the poorly insulated warehouse "The Rocky Balboa Training Facility."
Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.