Mariners taking pride in their defense

Mariners taking pride in their defense

Mariners taking pride in their defense
DETROIT -- It's been rare to see the Mariners on top of any statistical leaderboards this season. However, Seattle is in the company of the league's elite in one aspect of the game: their fielding.

Entering Wednesday night's contest against the Tigers, the Mariners owned a .991 fielding percentage, and had made only six errors, both of which were tops in the Major Leagues. The Yankees (.990), Red Sox (.990), Rangers (.989) and Phillies (.987) all followed closely behind.

Although defense certainly won't be the be-all, end-all of the season, it's an encouraging sign for a young Mariners team, especially one that is struggling to swing the bats.

"We talk about it," manager Eric Wedge said. "You work to have a clean game. And it starts with pitching and defense. As I've said so many times, our offense is going to continue to come along. It's still inconsistent, but ... you've got to pitch and you've got to catch the ball. That's a big part of it."

Last season, the Mariners averaged the fewest runs (3.17) of any team in the designated hitter era. To add insult to injury, they were the fifth-worst fielding team in the American League, committing 108 errors. It's a small sample size, but so far in 2012 they're on pace for 54.

The fielding is something Wedge said the team is certainly happy about, but they're not satisfied with just being strong in the field.

"Our motivation is to be a complete team," Wedge said. "We want to be a well-rounded ballclub. Everything that we do is working toward that. That's where I'm at with it, that's where they're at with it. We want every area of our club to be more consistent."