Robinson getting chance to impress Mariners
Outfielder has shown improvement from time well spent in Tacoma
SEATTLE -- Trayvon Robinson got a taste of the Major Leagues with the Mariners last year and proved that he had a lot to learn. Now he's back and impressing the Seattle staff with what he has absorbed in his continuing development.
Last year, the outfielder, who came to Seattle from Boston in a Trade Deadline deal for pitcher Erik Bedard, played in 44 games and hit .210 with two home runs, 14 RBIs and a stolen base. He struck out 61 times and walked eight times. He had an on-base percentage of .250.
Robinson didn't make the team out of Spring Training this season, so he went to Triple-A Tacoma, where he hit .265 in 83 games with nine homers, 18 doubles, 41 RBIs and 18 stolen bases. More impressive to Mariners brass was the fact that he cut down his strikeout pace (85) and improved his walks (34) and OBP (.331).
And now he's back in Seattle, getting another look.
"In talking to [Tacoma manager] Daren Brown and [Tacoma hitting coach] Jeff Pentland, he was a good worker, he was a consistent worker, he played every day, he played all three outfield positions," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
"His swing's a little bit more consistent, a little shorter to the baseball. At times last year, he just tried to do too much. It looks like he's a little bit more in control up there."
Robinson backed up his manager's words on Sunday, going 1-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a key sacrifice bunt that led to a run when Royals reliever Jose Mijares threw the ball away in the eighth inning of a 7-6 victory.
Robinson is 2-for-7 (.286) in two games for the Mariners this year.
Wedge not in a hurry on leadoff spot
SEATTLE -- Manager Eric Wedge hasn't had too much time to think about life without Ichiro Suzuki, but the fact that he had removed Ichiro from the leadoff spot several times this season, including out of Spring Training, meant he had a different strategy in mind.
Consider it an evolving work in progress.
Dustin Ackley led off in Sunday's game against the Royals and likely will continue to do so, but Wedge said he hasn't given any thought into what the top of the lineup might look like in 2013.
"I've been using Ackley," Wedge said. "I still hope that he continues to take to it. But I don't have anything right now in regard to a predetermined set lineup for next year.
"We've still got a couple-plus months here to continue to look at these guys, and watch them continue to progress and develop."
Peguero doesn't get cheated at plate
SEATTLE -- It's one of the joys of any Mariners batting practice these days, and an occasional reason to gasp once the game starts. Seattle outfielder Carlos Peguero, to put it lightly, swings hard. Probably as hard as anyone in the Major Leagues.
And when Peguero makes solid contact, with that swing and his 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame behind it, the ball goes a long way.
Manager Eric Wedge was asked before Sunday's game if he'd ever seen a player swing as hard as Peguero does. He nodded and laughed a bit.
"Yeah, I've seen a few of 'em do it," Wedge said. "Oh, I don't know. [Former longtime big league outfielder Ryan] Klesko didn't get cheated. I remember that. [Gary] Sheffield didn't get cheated. Vladimir [Guerrero]. There are guys out there."
When asked if the sheer brute force of his swing could confidently get Peguero, who has one home run this season, mentioned in the same sentence with those players, who hit a combined 1,236 home runs in the Majors, Wedge laughed again.
"Well, for the swing," Wedge said. "But he's not in that category. Not yet, anyway."
Shortstop Brendan Ryan leads American League shortstops with a .992 fielding percentage, 14.5 Ultimate Zone Rating and 25 runs saved.
Entering Sunday, the The Mariners had been successful on each of their last nine steal attempts and 28 of their last 34 (82.4 percent). Overall this season, they have been successful on 70 of their 94 attempts (74.5 percent). Michael Saunders leads the team with 15 steals and is 7-for-his-last-7.
Nearly half of the Mariners' games have been decided by one or two runs. Entering Sunday, the tally was at 51 of 103. Seattle has gone 13-18 in one-run decisions and 8-12 in two-run games.