Davis Leaving Slump Behind

It hasn't been an easy season for catcher Ben Davis. Pegged as the Mariners' starting catcher heading into the 2004 campaign, his inability to hit the baseball pushed him to the bench in Seattle to start the season and landed him in Triple-A in May. InsidethePark's Sean Duade spoke to Davis after Thursday night's Rainiers game to get an update on his progress at the plate.

Ben Davis's struggles from the plate over the last 12 months or so have been well documented by just about every media outlet that covers the Mariners organization. What hasn't been mentioned, at least not anywhere lately, is the fact that Davis is starting to turn things around in Tacoma.

Need proof?

Davis carried an eight-game hitting streak (9-27) into the Rainiers' game Thursday night against Sacramento. By game's end, the switch-hitter had smacked his first homer of the season – a three run bomb over the right field wall – and extended his hitting streak to nine games with a 1-4 night.

His batting average, while not great, is up to .239 after a very rough start. Davis, 27, says the work he's been putting in with the Mariners' Triple-A club has started to pay off in recent weeks.

"I'm not swinging as hard, and I'm just trying to keep my eye on the ball," said the catcher after the Rainiers' loss to the River Cats. "I think for the most part I have a good swing and I think I've just got to keep my head on the baseball.

"It's just a matter of being consistent with it. You know, not trying to do too much. You get one hit you want to get another one; you get two, you want to get a third. And, you know, just keep staying with that approach and not trying to muscle the ball over the top."

In his time with the Mariners, this his third season in the organization, one concern for Davis has been his long looping swing. Without a compact swing from either side of the plate, he's been unable to be consistent for any length of time. That, he says, is one of the main areas he's currently trying to fix.

"I'm working to shorten my stroke up," he said. "I've been doing a lot of soft toss drills, and I'm trying to stay inside on the ball and hit the ball up the middle."

Slowly but surely, the work is paying off for the former No. 2 pick of the amateur draft. Still, the veteran catcher says he's feeling better from one side of the plate in particular.

"Right now I probably feel a little bit more comfortable right handed," said Davis. "That's my natural side, and usually when I'm struggling I usually still feel pretty decent from the right side. But my left-handed swing is getting a little better."

Comforting news, if nothing else, for fans of the Mariners and fans of Ben Davis.


Joe Kaiser contributed to this report.

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