Ackley rolling with aggressive approach
SEATTLE -- It was, in more ways than one, a stroke of luck.
In the sixth inning of Friday night's 6-4 win over the Athletics, left fielder Dustin Ackley hit a check-swing single into left field. Ackley finished the night 3-for-4 with a double and two runs scored and raised his average to .286.
"I think in Oakland I had two or three balls that I hit that I really squared up in the gaps and got ran down," Ackley said Friday. "When you're feeling good and things are going well, you get those hits. Those balls start to fall for you. When you're not aggressive and you're not doing those things, you tend not to get those."
Ackley's solid start to 2014 isn't an aberration. After the 2013 All-Star break, he posted a .304/.374/.435 line. Ackley stopped worrying about what to swing at and started being aggressive. He was back to being the hitter the Mariners thought they were getting when they selected him with the 2nd overall pick in the 2009 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
"This is doable. It's not like I'm pulling a rabbit out of the hat or anything. I've always done this, my whole life," Ackley said. "I got to believe that. When you stop believing that, you start getting in trouble. For me, I just got to stay on that same path."
Early in Spring Training, manager Lloyd McClendon named Ackley his starting left fielder and let him go to work. That was for a reason. After the pair met face to face in the offseason to discuss Ackley's future, McClendon was convinced the 26-year-old needed stability after bouncing between Triple-A and the Major Leagues last season.
"One of the things I came away with is I think he just needs some consistency. He needs to know where he's going to be every day, stick him there, let him play," McClendon said. "I think he's starting to show us he's got a chance to be a pretty good Major League player."