Slow starter in past, Lee in early groove

Slow starter in past, Lee in early groove

HOUSTON -- After starting slow at the plate the last two years, Carlos Lee feels much better where he's at offensively nearing the end of the first week of the season. Sure, it's a small sample, but Lee is pleased.

He entered Wednesday's game against the Braves hitting .389 with one homer and six RBIs and a .476 on-base percentage in 18 at-bats.

"Before I left Spring Training, I was feeling pretty good," said Lee, who hit .183 in April in 2010 and .194 in April in '11. "I've kind of figured out a good batting stance and it's helping a lot."

Lee has noticed teams are pitching around him with runners in scoring position, though the Braves threw him an inside fastball in the seventh inning Tuesday. Lee responded with an RBI single in his 3-for-3 night with two walks.

"It's kind of early to say, but you can see every time there's people in scoring position they don't come to me," he said. "I was surprised [Tuesday] late in the game when they pitched to me. I was like, 'Whoa.' It caught me by surprise, but I'll take it."