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(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Fresno Grizzlies Charlie Culberson dives safely back to first base past Salt Lake Bees Efren Navarro during the game at Spring Mobile Ballpark on Friday, June 15, 2012.
Salt Lake Bees first baseman Efren Navarro enjoys steady success
PCL » Slick-fielding first baseman finally has his bat going, too.
First Published Jun 15 2012 10:49 pm • Last Updated Sep 11 2012 11:35 pm

Wall Street’s brokers can only dream that Dow Jones would act more like Efren Navarro.

Unlike the economy, since late May the Salt Lake first baseman has made the necessary adjustments and his average has enjoyed a healthy, steady climb of nearly 100 points.

At a glance

Storylines Fresno 8, Salt Lake 5

Jackson Williams caps a four-run Fresno rally in the second inning with a three-run homer.

» Luis Jimenez and Efren Navarro each drive in two runs for Salt Lake.

» After winning five consecutive games, Salt Lake has dropped four in a row.

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"I was getting beat inside," said Navarro, who has tweaked his stance at the plate. "I was getting beat by the fastball. I’ve been doing more [batting] cage work."

The slick-fielding Navarro, chosen as the best fielding first baseman in all of the minor leagues in 2011, also extended his hitting streak to seven games despite Salt Lake’s 8-5 loss to Fresno (43-25) on Friday at Spring Mobile Ballpark.

It was the fourth consecutive loss for the Bees (35-34).

On Friday, Navarro collected two more hits and drove in a pair of runs and raised his batting average to .299. He’s hitting a cool .500 (11 for 22) during the current homestand. Plenty of credit also goes to the Bees’ coaches, including former hitting coach Jim Eppard and current coach Francisco Matos.

"It’s been a collaborative effort," Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson said. "The quality of his at-bats has improved. He’s making tough outs."

Of course, the PCL leader among first basemen in total chances and putouts also displayed his fielding prowess by gunning down Chris Dominguez after the Fresno left fielder took too wide of a turn coming around third base in the fifth inning.

On Thursday, Navarro singled for his sixth consecutive hit in as many at-bats. The Salt Lake franchise record is nine.

Navarro’s slow start was mildly puzzling when put in context with last season, which saw him finish with a .317 average 73 runs batted in.

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He earned a brief call-up to the Los Angeles Angels.

"Once you start having some good at-bats, your confidence level rises," Navarro said.


Twitter: @tribmarty

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