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Yelich showing signs of breaking out of slump

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CHICAGO -- The sharp single to center and the home run Christian Yelich hit on Saturday are reminders of what the 22-year-old is capable.

The fact Yelich had two impressive hits off Jeff Samardzija, arguably the best right-hander in the National League this year, is also impressive.

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Yelich's track record of hitting at every level are other reasons the Marlins are so high on their young left fielder, despite some struggles he's endured in recent weeks.

"He gives you good at-bats," manager Mike Redmond said. "He's got power. You see it in there. It's just really a matter of time and consistency for him. But he keeps having good at-bats. Even though his average isn't where he would want it, or everyone else would want it, I know he's going to give me a good at-bat."

Yelich's season average dipped to .245 with a .328 on-base percentage. The left-handed-hitting outfielder also has six homers, five triples, 10 doubles, 20 RBIs and 39 runs scored.

Yelich takes his lows in stride, much like he does his highs.

"Obviously, there is a little frustration, but it is part of the game," he said. "You're going to have stretches where you struggle. Obviously, you don't want it to be as long as mine has been."

Yelich hit .287 in April, and he's had a 17-game hitting streak this year. But he's followed up a .217 month of May by batting .160 in June, entering Sunday.

More than his own numbers, Yelich understands his importance at the top of the order.

"You want to get on base as the guy at the top of the order," Yelich said. "You want to help the team. That's been the frustrating part of it, because we have been able to score runs.

"I know personally, if I am able to get on base, it just helps our team out so much more. That's been the most frustrating part about it. I've been feeling better the last couple of days. It's baseball. It's going to be a learning experience, and it's something I'm going to be better off for after going through something like this."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter Less

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