In quick fashion, Marte showing all his weapons

Mariners shortstop improving offensively, defensively and, especially, on the basepaths

In quick fashion, Marte showing all his weapons

SEATTLE -- Ketel Marte prides himself on being fast, but the Mariners' young shortstop had to overcome a slow start this season before really turning on the burners. And that speed and influence of the 22-year-old infielder has become increasingly apparent in recent days as Marte continues providing a big boost to a team that has heated up in the American League West.

Marte has hit .480 (12-for-25) with three doubles and six runs for the Mariners in their last six games, including a 3-for-5 in Wednesday's 7-4 loss to the Astros, as he's raised his average from .188 to .288 in the past week.

Marte's play has risen on the basepaths and in the field, as well.

"I think we've seen as a few hits have dropped in, the confidence has grown," manager Scott Servais said before the game. "He looks much more sure of himself, not just in the batter's box, but defensively, as well. Which is pretty normal for all young players.

"I think he feels like he belongs, he's a big part of our team in the middle of the field. It's going to be streaky. We're riding a very good streak right now. He's had a very good week and hopefully he can continue to ride it."

Marte has forced the issue on the bases this year in key times, providing needed speed to a lineup that Servais wants to see challenge opposing clubs far more often.

"When he gets on the bases and the energy gets flowing, you can just see it," Servais said. "It picks up our club."

Marte scored from first base on a single to center against the Yankees in an eye-opening burst on the last road trip. In Tuesday's 11-1 win over the Astros, he scored from third on a play where Robinson Cano got caught in a rundown between first and second.

"He's probably our fastest [baserunner] and I think the most aggressive guy we've got," Servais said. "He's kind of our guy with the swag on the bases. I want him to create havoc and let the other team know he's out there, and he certainly has done that recently."

Cano has mentored Marte from the time he arrived in Seattle last season as a midseason callup from Triple-A Tacoma and loves what he's seen.

"It's just a matter of time," Cano said. "The more you play, the more you learn. He's one of those guys that the more he plays, the better he'll get."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.