Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager heads to the dugout after striking out against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of a game on June 13 in Minneapolis. (Craig Lassig / Associated Press)

Seattle Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager heads to the dugout after striking out against the Minnesota Twins in the first inning of a game on June 13 in Minneapolis. (Craig Lassig / Associated Press)

Scuffling Seager looks to build on first-half finish

The veteran third baseman broke a 0-for-21 slump during a three-RBI game Saturday.

By Lauren Smith / The News Tribune

SEATTLE — This hasn’t exactly been the reboot season Kyle Seager envisioned, but as the Seattle Mariners closed the first half, the veteran third baseman offered a glimpse of what this season could still turn into.

Saturday against the A’s, Seager ended a 0-for-21 slump with his sixth home run of the season, and drove in another run on a sacrifice fly to set his season high with a three-RBI night. Sunday, he added a double to post back-to-back games with hits before the All-Star break.

“Nice to see Seager square up a few balls,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “He’s been struggling and trying to find a few things since he’s come back after missing a few days with that wrist thing (in June). I thought he hit three balls right on the screws.”

Seager has been consistently working with hitting coach Tim Laker since returning from an extended stay on the injured list to begin the season. Though he had a the minor setback with his wrist, he said he’s noticed more solid contact at the plate lately.

“It was definitely better,” Seager said. “It’s hard to be worse, I guess, so it’s a good way to go from there.”

When Seager arrived at training camp this spring thinner, he was ready to improve on 2018 offensive numbers that fell well below his career averages.

But he sustained the first major injury of his nine-year career several weeks into camp, had surgery to repair a tendon in his left hand, and landed on the injured list before the Mariners played their first regular season game during March.

He didn’t return to Seattle’s starting lineup until the final week of May.

“It was definitely a weird start to the season,” Seager said. “It was something I’ve never dealt with before. I’ve never been on the (IL) before, so that was definitely different.

“Kind of getting back in the swing of things, the weirdest part was not feeling like a part of the group. Not having a normal interaction with the guys. You watch them on TV, but you don’t have that same connection when you’re hurt. You’re not a part of it.”

When Seager returned to his regular routine in the clubhouse and everyday role at third base, the glove work he’s known for returned quickly. He said that was a product of spring training work that made his defensive movements feel more natural. His bat, though, was sporadic.

He entered Saturday night’s game against the A’s batting .199. He said talking to his younger brother, Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager, and Laker helped him get back into some good tendencies at the plate.

“(Corey) kind of reminded me of some things I’d always told him to do, and it kind of went full circle on that one, but it was good though,” Seager said. “Lake had been working (with me on) that, too. It’s things I’d just gotten away from.

“I’ve been working a lot with Lake on getting off the back side. I think I kind of overcorrected a problem from last year, when I was too far out in front of everything. This offseason I really worked hard to stay back. I kind of went the opposite end of that spectrum, so (I’m) trying to clean it up a little bit.”

He’s hoping the progress he has made in the several weeks he’s been back carries through the All-Star break.

Seager entered the break slashing .203/.288/.371 with six home runs and 18 RBI in 38 games.

“I’d love to get Seager going in the second half,” Servais said. “I know he would like to get going, too.”

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