Dustin Pedroia entered Thursday as the Boston Red Sox’s leader in batting average, and he’s already hit more home runs this season than he did in all of 2014.

Part of Pedroia’s success at the plate obviously can be attributed to the fact that his wrist and hand injuries finally have fully healed. But a slight equipment modification also might have something to do with the second baseman’s sudden power surge.

In spring training, at the recommendation of hitting coach Chili Davis, Pedroia began using the Axe Bat, which replaces the traditional bat handle with — you guessed it — one resembling that of an ax.

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia

To Davis, the results have been obvious.

“He picked it up and was doing one-hand drills with it,” Davis told USA Today. “And he goes, ‘This is what I need. I need this knob. I can lock my fingers the way I want to, you know?’ And he kept using it.

“… I’ll tell you what, he’s been ripping the cover off the ball since he’s had that thing. He only has two of them, he’s been swinging one of them for a month. It’s a good thing for him, and a good thing for that company.”

Davis said the handle’s unique design helps increase bat speed, and Pedroia was a quick convert.

“It just feels good in your hands,” Pedroia told USA Today. “Everything (about my swing feels better), man.”

According to USA Today, Pedroia began using the bat on a nightly basis May 25. Since then, he’s hit safely in 19 of 22 games and clubbed four of his nine homers.

Photo via Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY Sports Images