Mayberry keeping consistent approach

OKLAHOMA CITY - Although he wasn't always the model of consistency coming into the 2008 campaign, outfielder John Mayberry has been one of Oklahoma's most consistent hitters since his promotion to Triple-A. Lone Star Dugout features the 24-year-old slugger.

"I think I'm off to a pretty decent start," said outfielder John Mayberry when asked about the beginning of his Triple-A career. "I've been pretty consistent thus far. I have had some big games where I felt like I kept with my approach and it has paid dividends."

Mayberry isn't kidding about getting "off to a pretty decent start". Through his first nine games at the Triple-A level, the slugger was batting .472 [17-for-36] with six doubles, two triples and two home runs.

The 24-year-old has remained consistent since joining the RedHawks, as he is batting .302 with eight doubles, three triples, and four home runs. Perhaps even more importantly, he has struck out just 17 times in 126 at-bats.

Mayberry believes the key to his strong play has simply been finding a consistent rhythm.

"I think the biggest thing was staying with the fundamentals of being consistent, being mechanically sound, and using the whole ballpark," Mayberry said. "I think that a lot of guys up here have command of the outer part of the plate and if you're not able to stay in the middle of the field, you're going to have problems."

One reason Mayberry's hot Triple-A start has come as such a surprise to fans is because he entered the season having never hit above .268 at any level. Although he had shown power at every stop, Mayberry struggled to make consistent contact and maintain a high average.

That trend looked like it was continuing when he opened the season with Double-A Frisco. In 21 games with the Riders this year, Mayberry batted .268 with four walks and 21 strikeouts.

Even though his Triple-A numbers are clearly better than the Double-A stats, Mayberry says he has noticed a bit of a difference in pitching between the two levels.

"There is a little bit [of a difference]," he said. "Velocity-wise, it's about the same. I think the difference is that here guys are able to command an extra pitch. They're throwing offspeed in hitter's counts."

With the Rangers struggling to find consistency at first base this year, the club has already tried a few options. Chris Shelton was called up last month, but he has batted just .227 in 28 games with the Rangers.

It would seem to be no coincidence that Mayberry – along with Frisco catcher Max Ramirez – have been playing some first base recently.

"I have been working out at first base a little bit," said Mayberry. "Bobby Jones, the skip, just told me to dust the cobwebs off my glove and he threw me in there. It was good."

But Mayberry contends that he's not sure what the Rangers want to do with him.

"I don't know yet to tell you the truth," replied Mayberry when asked if he would continue to play first base. "I just come in and check the lineup card like everybody else and play where Bobby J. tells me."

The Stanford product should be fairly accustomed to first base. He played the position all three years of college ball and was regarded as a solid defender. Mayberry says it didn't take long to get accustomed with the right side of the infield again.

"I was actually pretty comfortable [at first]," he said. "It was a little bit faster paced, playing in the infield, but it was pretty comfortable."

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