By Ryan Divish The News Tribune
ARLINGTON, Texas — While the rest of his teammates struggle and flail, Kyle Seager has been the lone bright spot to a dreary stretch of offensive ineptness.
In Sunday’s 11-3 loss to the Rangers, Seager went 3-for-4 with a RBI double, a solo homer and a walk, raising his average to .268. He’s now hit in 10 straight games for the Mariners, and leads the American League in doubles with 10.
The number could be even better if not for a slow start to the season. There was a 1-for-27 stretch that left him frustrated and working on his swing.
“I got out of whack a little bit out of the gate,” he said. “Everyone wants to get off to a nice start, but I wasn’t putting myself in necessarily the best position to hit. But I just tried to get back to what works for me and my swing.”
Once he addressed that, Seager started producing like the guy that was one of the Mariners consistent hitters last season.
During this 10-game stretch, he’s hitting .378 (14-for-37) and seven of his last 13 hits have been doubles.
Even though he’s the only player hitting, Seager hasn’t lost faith in his teammates.
“We are still going to have a good offense,” he said. “Everybody goes through ups and downs over the course of the season, it’s a long season. We are going to have a good offense, nobody is questioning that. We look at our team and our lineup and the potential of it, and we still feel strongly about it.”
Gutierrez is still gimpy
Franklin Gutierrez was out of the lineup again on Sunday as the Mariners try to combat his issues with tightness in his hamstrings and groin.
Mariners’ manager Eric Wedge is growing frustrated with the situation, but is trying get Gutierrez healthy enough to at least play more than once or twice a week.
“If we play him again today, it’s just going to be another step back,” Wedge said. “If you give him today, maybe we can start going back-to-back days with him. For him to get better, it’s what we have to do.”
Wedge admitted there is a chance the Mariners could place Gutierrez on the 15-day disabled list. Logically, it would be a smart thing to do when Michael Saunders is healthy and eligible to come off the DL. That would allow them to postpone making a roster decision.
“Down the road, if this keeps up it is,” Wedge said of the possibility. “We are trying to avoid it, but if this keeps up, I don’t think we have many other options.”
Not a Figgins situation ? yet
There has been quite a bit of clamoring for the Mariners send Dustin Ackley or Justin Smoak or Jesus Montero or all three of them to Class AAA. All three young players are struggling and have Class AAA options.
But that might not happen as soon as some people expect or want.
Wedge gave Chone Figgins almost 25 games last year to prove he belonged, before benching him. He plans to give the young players longer.
“They are on the climb,” Wedge said. “With Figgy, it was one last chance to go with a few other last chances he already had. The focus shouldn’t be on the young players right now. If anything the focus should be on the veterans, they are the ones that are supposed to be leading the way. It’s easy to pick on the young players. But everybody is accountable for this.”
Michael Morse went 1-for-4 with a double in Sunday’s loss. But the Mariners cleanup hitter has struggled since retuning from a broken pinky finger that caused him to miss four games. He has just three hits in 24 at-bats and has struck out eight times.
But Wedge doesn’t believe the finger is causing the troubles.
“I think his timing has been a little bit off,” he said. “I don’t think he’s too far away. Obviously that bump in the road has affected him. I don’t think the finger is too much of an issue, but the timing has been. It’s not supposed to be that easy. When you lose three or four days in baseball, it’s a long time. But he’ll get it back.”