Taylor makes strong first impression on offense

Taylor makes strong first impression on offense

BALTIMORE -- The Mariners have always been high on the defensive skills of young shortstop Chris Taylor, a fifth-round Draft pick out of Virginia in 2012. But one of the questions was whether he'd be able to hit at the big league level.

So far, so good in that regard, as the 23-year-old rookie is hitting .375 (9-for-24) with three doubles in his first seven games since being promoted from Triple-A Tacoma after going 2-for-4 in Saturday's 6-3 win over the Orioles.

"I feel comfortable at the plate," Taylor said. "These pitchers pound the strike zone. You have to be ready to hit. They're coming right at you."

Manager Lloyd McClendon said he's been pleased with the youngster so far, as Taylor has split time with Brad Miller.

"I like what I see," McClendon said. "He plays a pretty good shortstop, he handles himself at the plate pretty good. He has great instincts for the game. He's doing a nice job."

The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder produced well with the bat in the Minors as well and earned his midseason promotion by hitting .328/.397/.497 with five homers and 37 RBIs in 75 games for Tacoma this year. McClendon said he's never been concerned about that phase of Taylor's game since his arrival.

"From what I saw in Spring Training, I thought he'd be a player that handled the bat," McClendon said. "I didn't think he'd be overmatched, and he hasn't disappointed."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.