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Taylor not worried about slow start at plate

Mariners shortstop, manager believe hitting will come around
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- Chris Taylor's first eight games back with the Mariners haven't gone quite as well as hoped, as the young shortstop hit just .143 (4-for-28) before getting the day off Friday to rest a stiff neck. But the 24-year-old from Virginia says he's not overly concerned about his initial offensive struggles after batting .287 in 47 games last year as a rookie.

"It's going as I expected. I knew what I was getting into when I was coming up," said Taylor, who has taken over starting shortstop duties from Brad Miller since being recalled May 4. "It's a tough game and you're facing a lot of good pitchers. That's all part of it.

Full Game Coverage

SEATTLE -- Chris Taylor's first eight games back with the Mariners haven't gone quite as well as hoped, as the young shortstop hit just .143 (4-for-28) before getting the day off Friday to rest a stiff neck. But the 24-year-old from Virginia says he's not overly concerned about his initial offensive struggles after batting .287 in 47 games last year as a rookie.

"It's going as I expected. I knew what I was getting into when I was coming up," said Taylor, who has taken over starting shortstop duties from Brad Miller since being recalled May 4. "It's a tough game and you're facing a lot of good pitchers. That's all part of it.

Full Game Coverage

"The hits haven't really fallen for me and I need to get back on top of the ball and make a couple adjustments," he said. "But I knew what to expect and I'm not really surprised or too down on myself. It's still early. I'm just taking it one day at a time and trying to help the team."

Video: SEA@LAD: Taylor drills two-run home run to left field

Manager Lloyd McClendon values Taylor's smooth glove work at short, but acknowledges he needs to hit as well in order to fill the role on a full-time basis. Taylor hit .313 in 21 games for Triple-A Tacoma before getting the callup, but the skipper knows any young player puts pressure on himself to impress out of the gate.

"He doesn't appear to be pressing," McClendon said. "But I'm sure anytime you call a young kid up, obviously he wants to do good. He hasn't gotten off to a good start, but we know he's capable of doing better than he has to this point."

Taylor chuckles a little when asked about his slow start at the plate.

"I've only been here a week or whatever," he said. "That's part of the game. I'll just get in the cage, work with the coaches and I'll work through it."

Taylor said the stiff neck is a minor issue and nothing that will prevent him from playing as needed. But McClendon has Miller available, and after using him in left field Thursday, the skipper shifted him back to his familiar shortstop role Friday. Which is exactly what he sees as a major plus for Miller in the future.

"That's part of the vision that I have," McClendon said of Miller's utility value. "He's doing OK so far."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Seattle Mariners, Chris Taylor