Ackley finding his groove in leadoff spot

Ackley finding his groove in leadoff spot

Ackley finding his groove in leadoff spot
CLEVELAND -- One player the Mariners are counting on for consistency at the plate this season is Dustin Ackley, and the young second baseman seems to be finding his groove over the past two weeks.

Ackley carried a 12-game hitting streak into Thursday's series finale against the Indians, having raised his batting average 31 points to .262 in that span.

"Right now I'm starting to feel a lot better," said the 24-year-old Ackley. "My approach the last four to five games, I've felt really great. I'm seeing pitches really well and taking some good swings. I think right now I'm as close to last year as I've been. Hopefully I can continue that."

Ackley's improvement has coincided with his move to the leadoff role, but he feels his success at the plate has to do with how he's batting, not where's he's batting.

"I think it's just a gradual progression through the year, just seeing pitches and realizing what guys are doing to you," he said. "You're seeing the same pitchers over and over again, so you're kind of adjusting back to those guys. It's all a game of adjustments, and I've made some good ones here the past week or so that have really helped me out."

Manager Eric Wedge sounds committed to keeping the youngster in the leadoff spot for at least the immediate future.

"I think he likes it, I think he's good at it and it's something that will definitely be an option for us moving forward, potentially for a long time to come," Wedge said. "I think he's going to settle in either at one, two or three, depending on the supporting cast, but right now I really like him in the leadoff spot.

"I think he's suited for it. He's going to get on base, he can drive the ball, he can spray the ball throughout, he can run, he's a smart player. He has a lot to offer. I like him up there."