Ackley sees progress with relaxed approach

Ackley sees progress with relaxed approach

SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Eric Wedge has taken a patient approach with his offense this season, even as the frustrations of an anemic output continue to grow. Time after time, Wedge said his young lineup was close to breaking through.

It finally appears one of the young batters is making the necessary adjustments, as Dustin Ackley has come out of the All-Star break looking like a different player at the plate.

Ackley, who has been having a tough time duplicating his breakout second half from last year, has started to make the hard-hitting contact that helped him have success in his rookie season. He attributes that to changes made during batting practice.

"I felt like the BPs I've taken the last week have been the better BPs I've taken," Ackley said. "For me, it's just been a matter of taking my BP swing into the game. I feel like when I'm in BP taking good swings, then I'll get in the game and everything will speed up. I'll be going after the ball too fast and too hard and I'll be getting out of position to hit the baseball.

"I think that's just a matter of letting that comfort and that relaxation set in, and that's the way I've felt the past two days. Not trying to make it happen, I'm trying to let it happen. Not trying to get a hit, or do this, just barrel the ball and see what happens."

Ackley has just one hit in two games since the All-Star break, but he has been the victim of ill-placed line drives and hard outs. Still, those at-bats are giving him confidence, which in turn alleviates the pressure when he's at the plate. Wedge said that translates into a more confident and controlled swing, which gives Ackley a better chance at success than the violent swing that was plaguing him during the first half.

"When you go through some of the things these young people have gone through, it really forces you to analyze everything that you're doing," Wedge said. "Which ultimately you come out the other end that much better, that much wiser, with a much better feel for your swing."