ST. PETERSBURG -- Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo got off to a rough start this season, but manager Eric Wedge stuck with the veteran and he's responded well over the past week.
Olivo carried a seven-game hitting streak into Monday's series opener against the Rays, having batted .310 (9-for-29) during that stretch with two home runs, including a solo shot in the ninth inning in Sunday's 7-2 loss at Toronto.
The stretch has raised Olivo's average 70 points to .195, still not where he wants it, but certainly heading the right direction after his 6-for-48 start over the season's first two weeks.
Olivo said a lot of time spent with hitting coach Chris Chambliss is helping.
"I'm very fortunate to have good coaching," Olivo said. "They never give up. They've got a lot of faith in me. They're working, telling me what to do and I'm feeling better."
Wedge has taken some heat from fans for sticking with the veteran. He values Olivo's strong leadership and ability to work with the pitching staff but wants to see continued improvement at the plate as well.
"He's been working hard at it. He's up the middle a lot better with his approach," said Wedge. "He's obviously a pull hitter, but his approach has to be more consistent through the middle and he's done that.
"We need him to hit. He's going to play and we need him to contribute offensively and he's starting to do that."