SAN DIEGO—Insisting that it only played a minor role in helping him break the single-season home run record, Mark McGwire claimed Wednesday that he could have hit 70 home runs even without the help of a bat. “People act like it was the only reason I was able to belt all those home runs, but deep down, I know I could have hit just as well without a bat,” said McGwire, noting that he only used a bat to keep up with all the other hitters in the 90s who were using them and that he regrets using a bat because he feels it has distracted from his natural ability as a hitter. “Using a bat doesn’t help you hit a baseball. Home runs require extraordinary hand-eye coordination, physical strength, and timing, and I had all that. A bat can’t give you the reflexes to hit a home run—bats just give you a little extra boost to emphasize the skill you already have.” McGuire also maintained that the only reason he started using bats in the first place was because of an injury during the 1990 season.