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Consistent at-bats generating confidence for Romero

SEATTLE -- Rookie right fielder Stefen Romero continues to get increased playing time as he was in the starting lineup for a fifth straight game Tuesday night against the Rays.

Romero went 3-for-5 with a home run, double and three RBIs in Seattle's 12-5 victory on Monday. Coupled with Michael Saunders' hyperextended knee injury, Romero's increasing production is making it easy for manager Lloyd McClendon to stay with the 25-year-old from Tucson, Ariz.

And that consistent playing time in turn is helping Romero feel more comfortable at the plate, as he's gone 4-for-7 with four runs and three RBIs in his past two starts.

"Definitely," said Romero. "The more consistent at-bats you get and more back-to-back at-bats you get day in and day out, you feel a sense of comfortablity and get in a routine every day. Luckily that's what it's been for me."

Romero started almost exclusively against left-handed pitchers early in the season, but has received more chances against righties recently and actually has a higher on-base plus slugging percentage against righties (.733) than lefties (.682).

McClendon said increased time has benefitted the youngster, but he'll continue to pick his spots as to when to play and sit the former Oregon State standout.

"I think the fact we've stayed away from some matchups that probably weren't so favorable for him has helped," McClendon said. "But probably the biggest thing is when he's in there, he's giving you some positive results, so that breeds confidence. I think he's feeling good about where he is right now.

"I don't think he's a platoon guy. You look at his Minor League numbers and he drove in 75 last year [at Triple-A Tacoma]. So he's hit both right- and left-handers in the Minor Leagues. I don't view him as a strict platoon guy."

For Romero, any playing time is good at this point as he adjusts to his first season in the big leagues.

"At first I was a little uncomfortable and didn't have a consistent routine," he said. "I kind of had an idea when I was playing, especially against left-handed starters. I had a good chance I'd start those games. And now since Saundo is banged up a little bit, I'm in there a little more and it gives me a little more opportunity to stay consistent."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog.
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