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Originally published May 6, 2012 at 7:51 PM | Page modified May 6, 2012 at 8:05 PM

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Brendan Ryan settling in at the 2-spot | Mariners notebook

After snapping an 0-for-26 drought, Ryan now has three hits in three games batting second.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Brendan Ryan appears to be settling in to his new role atop a revamped Mariners batting order.

After snapping an 0-for-26 drought, Ryan now has three hits in three games batting second. He collected a single and a sacrifice fly on Sunday afternoon, and it looks like he'll be staying in the two-spot for some time to come.

"I've run into some good fortune the last couple of days," Ryan said. "I'm just trying to have more competitive at-bats. I've been pulling off the ball so bad that I've gotten away from my strength, which is using the whole field, driving the ball to right and playing small ball."

Ryan said manager Eric Wedge has talked to him recently about hitting in different spots throughout the order. But after Sunday's game, it sounded like Wedge wouldn't mind Ryan spending more time right behind leadoff man Dustin Ackley in the order.

"He really took off last year when we did that," Wedge said. "You could tell that his swing is on the way back just from watching him take BP and seeing some of his takes in ballgames."

Ryan said he feels he can be a bit more patient batting second because he knows he'll likely get at least one more plate appearance per game. He also said he feels better equipped mentally to handle a terrible start to the season, which still has him batting just .153.

Two years ago with St. Louis, he went through a similar drought and said he tried too hard to force hits to come.

"You get too statistic-oriented instead of just competing and staying with it and knowing your strengths and all that stuff," Ryan said. "It's never fun and I don't think I'm out of the woods. I'm just trying to compete and let the ball travel and try to use that right side of the diamond."

Ryan also flashed some of his above-average defense on Sunday, barehanding a grounder in the hole to his right and throwing out the speedy Denard Span in the fifth inning.

Notes

• C Miguel Olivo is to begin running drills on Monday as he attempts to come back from a strained groin. Olivo's injury has been diagnosed as a grade 1 strain — the least severe — and Wedge thinks the catcher could come back "sooner rather than later."

• With Olivo out, backup INF Munenori Kawasaki is now the team's emergency catcher, and he spent time Sunday catching a side session thrown by RHP Kevin Millwood. The pair also teamed up for a side session at Tampa Bay on the last road trip.

Asked about Kawasaki's catching skills, the good-humored Millwood smiled and quipped: "It could have been worse, I guess."

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or gbaker@seattletimes.com

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