By Don Ruiz The News Tribune
SEATTLE — Seattle Mariners outfielder Dustin Ackley began the homestand on a streak that saw him drive in 17 runs over 17 games, with four doubles, a triple, three home runs and a .508 slugging percentage.
Since July 1, he was hitting .317, compared to .214 from March 31-June 30.
What changed, Ackley was asked.
“I think just not missing pitches,” he said. “I think that’s what it was early on in the year when I was struggling: I would get pitches to hit, and I would just miss them. Now it seems like I’ve been able to capitalize on the 2-0, the 2-1 — the hitter’s counts — and I pretty much credit it to that.”
More specifically, Ackley said he is looking for fastballs, catching up to them when they come, and adjusting well enough when they don’t.
“I think when I’ve done that here in the past I’ve hit the off-speed a lot better,” he said. “… It’s not something I got away from. I just think my swing, those early months, wasn’t where it needed to be. It wasn’t that I wasn’t looking for fastballs, it’s that I wasn’t hitting them, and my swing wasn’t in position to do that. Once I started tinkering with some stuff and just figuring out how to drive the ball the other way and staying on pitches, it just all seemed to work out better.”
Second baseman Robinson Cano returned to the Mariners’ lineup Monday, one day and one cross-country flight after taking himself out in the third inning at Boston due to flu symptoms. Cano headed into the Texas series third in the American League with 155 hits and fourth with a .326 batting average. … Texas outfielder Shin-Soo Choo will miss the remainder of the season after having surgery to remove bone spurs from his left elbow, the Rangers announced. Outfielder Michael Choice was recalled to take Choo’s spot on the 25-man roster and was in uniform Monday.