Wells making most of starting opportunities

Wells making most of starting opportunities

KANSAS CITY -- With his career-high five RBIs in Monday's 9-4 win over the Royals, left fielder Casper Wells continued taking advantage of his opportunity for everyday playing time in the Mariners' outfield.

Since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on June 13, Wells has hit .301 with three doubles, one triple, four home runs and 16 RBIs in 83 at-bats heading into Tuesday's game.

Wells' .869 OPS in that span has been a welcome sign for a Mariners team searching for offensive help. Wells said steady playing time has helped, as he's started 15 straight games now with center fielder Franklin Gutierrez sidelined by a concussion.

"It's allowed me to have a consistent approach and not try to do too much at the plate," Wells said. "I can be a little more relaxed, just knowing you'll get a chance to play against righties and lefties alike. I think it's made me dial into really having a consistent mindset and approach at the plate.

"Before when I was just playing against lefties, I was a little stale from not playing a lot and ending the season the way I did last year. I was kind of finding my way a little," he said. "Some days I'd be relaxed and others I'd be like, 'Man, I haven't got a hit.'

"Now I'm not thinking about getting hits, I'm just thinking about hitting the ball solid when it comes over the plate and letting my athletic ability and natural instincts take over from there. It's been working out so far. I just need to stick with it."

Manager Eric Wedge said Wells has opened eyes both at the plate and in the field, where he threw out Yuniesky Betancourt at third base on Monday trying to advance on a fly ball to the wall.

"He's been really impressive since he's come back up here," Wedge said. "The thing you notice, obviously he's a good outfielder, but he may have one of the more accurate arms in the outfield, and with something on it. We've seen that a few times.

"And obviously he's been hanging in there better against right-handers, which is good to see. It's been 2-3 weeks. I'd like to see him keep it going."