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Cuddyer not feeling any extra pressure of batting crown

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Rockies outfielder-first baseman Michael Cuddyer doesn't feel the weight of the 2013 National League batting crown.

He'll go into this season known around the baseball world as the defending batting champion, after hitting .331 last season. But he doesn't believe trying to hold onto the title should be any more stressful than capturing it.

"Going into the latter part of the season, it was, 'He's competing for the batting championship,'" said Cuddyer, who entered Tuesday's game against the White Sox hitting .184 in Spring Training but 6-for-21 (.286) with two doubles in his previous seven games. "That was another added pressure that you had to deal with. I felt like I was fine. I didn't change my approach. I didn't change my thought process at the plate.

"It's the same with this. Going into the year with the so-called title or whatever you want to call it, it doesn't change my approach at the plate."

Cuddyer hit cleanup and fifth much of last season, as the middle of the order was affected at times by injury-related absences of left fielder Carlos Gonzalez and shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. He'll bat second this season to set up Gonzalez and Tulowitzki.

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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