Taylor staying sharp while splitting time at short

Taylor staying sharp while splitting time at short

ANAHEIM -- With Brad Miller heating up at shortstop, Chris Taylor saw his playing time curtailed the past few weeks and started just three of 12 games in one stretch to start the month. But the rookie has continued playing well when given the chance and went 2-for-5 with three RBIs in Tuesday's 13-2 win over the Angels.

"That one may have been the most fun since I've been up here," said Taylor, who was penciled into the lineup again Wednesday against Angels southpaw C.J. Wilson. "Everybody seemed to be swinging the bat well. The pitchers did great. It was just a lot of fun."

And, of course, the 24-year-old from Virginia was thrilled to be in the middle of it all, with his RBI double in the fifth providing the go-ahead run in Seattle's big rally against the Angels' bullpen.

Taylor is hitting .295 in 37 games since joining the team in late July. He was inserted immediately into the lineup upon arrival, but now is working in a different role as he finds himself playing less, but needing to stay sharp with a postseason berth on the line.

"On the days I'm not playing, I try to treat the pregame like an actual game," he said. "I work hard at getting jumps, getting reads in the field, staying fresh out there. I'm just working with my swing every day. It's a little tough not seeing live pitching every day, but I get all the work I can in pregame and in the cage and just make sure I stay fresh and ready to go."

Manager Lloyd McClendon feels using both young shortstops has worked well, keeping the pressure off the pair by putting them in the best positions to succeed by picking favorable matchups against opposing pitchers.

"Chris has been real good the last couple days," McClendon said prior to Wednesday's game. "He's had great at-bats. He's worked hard. Miller had a hot streak where he played extremely well. My words to Taylor were just to stay ready. And he did. He worked hard from a physical standpoint and continued to do his film work. He's stepped in there and been big for us.

"And Miller has done the same thing," said McClendon. "They've both been very complementary with each other, and it's worked very well for us."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.