SEATTLE -- The Mariners' offense may have sputtered in this past weekend's sweep by the Angels, but don't blame Dustin Ackley. The newly converted outfielder went 5-for-10 with a home run and two doubles to continue a resurgent second half.
After some early-season struggles merited a Minor League demotion, Ackley has returned looking like the hitter the Mariners envisioned when they made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft. Since the All-Star break, he's hitting .330 with an .833 OPS.
" Obviously he's come a long way," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's had to do it the hard way and a lot of that's on him, but I've been really impressed with the way he's handled it and fought through it."
Ackley says that he believes he is pressing less and taking a more mature approach that will allow his success to be more sustainable than other hot stretches. That newfound belief in his abilities has translated into increased power for the 25-year-old, who hit just his second home run of the season Sunday and tacked on a double.
After slugging just .417 and .328 in his first two years, Ackley has posted a .473 slugging percentage in the second half.
"I think that all comes with tension. The more tension in your body, the more ground balls you're going to hit, the less you're going to hit the ball hard," Ackley said. "I think that's really what it's from is relaxation because I'm starting to square the ball up and not really worry about making contact, more driving the ball and I think that's what separates those ground balls from doubles and homers."
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.