SEATTLE -- Being in a 1-for-29 slump in his past seven games has done nothing to help Dustin Ackley's difficult first full season, but Mariners manager Eric Wedge has given his second baseman a stamp of approval.
Wedge said he talked to Ackley on Wednesday, and despite Ackley hitting just .220 with a team-high 85 strikeouts entering Thursday, Wedge believes he's showing good signs at the plate.
"The last two or three days, I've liked the way he's swung the bat," Wedge said. "He's had some tough luck. He's hit some balls hard. Guys have made plays on him. He's just missed a few balls, too. Sometimes those popups, they look like a popup, but it's a good swing, you just catch the bottom half of the ball. You're that far away from squaring it up.
"I just want him to hang in there mentally. Stay strong mentally and trust your approach. That's kind of where I feel he's at. He's been pretty good with that. For a young man, he's pretty consistent with his actions."
Ackley hit .273 in 90 games last year after being recalled in mid-June, and there was hope he could duplicate that success in his first full season in the Major Leagues. Starting the season hitting second in the order, the 24-year-old hasn't been able to produce the type of results the Mariners had hoped for.
Wedge has re-inserted him at the top of the lineup, though, and says he feels it is where Ackley fits best. Despite some of his offensive struggles, Ackley has drawn a team-high 42 walks and Wedge believes it's a matter of getting through the downs to get to the ups.
"Everybody has a different way of reacting to failure or success," Wedge said. "As long as you're consistent with it and you're handling it inside as well as you're handling it outside, that's the key. With the way we've been offensively, everybody's had their moment with frustration. You have to channel that and you have to handle it appropriately.
"It's such a grind, it's a long season. We've got two and a half months left or whatever it is and that's a lot of games, a lot of at-bats, a lot of innings and that's a lot of time. Dustin just needs to hang in there and keep working on what he's working on and trust it's going to play out in the field."