Norris not concerned by drop in walk rate

Norris not concerned by drop in walk rate

SEATTLE -- When told his walk rate has essentially plummeted from where it was the last two seasons to where it is today, Padres catcher Derek Norris didn't feign shock or disappointment.

"If I had to choose between a walk or getting a pitch to hit, I'll take getting a pitch to hit," Norris said on Tuesday, before the Padres opened a two-game series against the Mariners.

Norris' walk rate (walks per plate appearance) the last two seasons with the A's was 12.2 percent. This season, it's 2.5 percent. But his slugging percentage is up in that same stretch (from .405 to .470) as is his OPS (.760 to .792).

"It's not so much my walk rate is down, but I'm getting pitches to hit and more often early in counts. The guys behind me have been doing so much damage that they're not trying to get me to chase a 3-2 slider, they don't want to walk me with the guys behind me."

When Norris has hit second in the lineup -- as he did on Tuesday and has done against most left-handed pitchers -- he's hit ahead of Matt Kemp (.275) and Justin Upton (.294, team-leading eight home runs).

By no means, Norris said, is this a result of being away from the A's, where patience is preached.

"Nothing has changed. I'm just being aggressive in the strike zone," he said. "I'm getting better pitches to hit. If [opposing pitchers] plan on nibbling later on, or like if I'm hot and those guys behind me aren't, then maybe I'll take more walks."

Norris went into Tuesday's game with a .322 on-base percentage and three walks in his first 118 plate appearances. He had a .354 on-base percentage from 2013-14 with the A's.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. Keep track of @FollowThePadres on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.