8/17/2013 7:15 P.M. ET
Slumping Franklin sits; Ryan at short, Miller at second
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Mariners rookie second baseman Nick Franklin, mired in a tough slump after getting off to a hot start this season, got the day off Saturday as acting manager Robby Thompson juggled the middle of his infield with Felix Hernandez on the mound.
Franklin, who hit .296 with four home runs in his first five weeks after getting called up in late May, has seen his average fall to .239 after 65 games in the big leagues. He's hit just .194 (27-for-139) since July 1 with 52 strikeouts in 34 games.
Franklin is 5-for-52 (.096) with 19 strikeouts over his last 12 starts. With the left-hander Martin Perez starting for the Rangers, Thompson felt this was a good time to rest the switch-hitter before Seattle faces righties the next four days.
"We'll give Nick a little rest and a work day for him," Thompson said. "He's been struggling and even more so from the right side. But it's all part of the process of getting back into it."
Veteran shortstop Brendan Ryan got the start in Franklin's place, with rookie Brad Miller moving from short to second base.
Seager's swing quite successful at Rangers Ballpark
ARLINGTON -- Kyle Seager has hit well everywhere he's gone in his two-plus seasons with the Mariners, but the young third baseman seems to have a particular fondness for Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Going into Saturday's game with Texas, Seager had hit .374 with 17 runs, 12 doubles, five home runs and 13 RBIs in 22 games at Rangers Ballpark. Since May 29, 2012, he's batted .500 (26-for-52) with three home runs, including the go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning of Friday's 3-1 victory.
In seven games this season, Seager is batting .536 (15-for-28) with three home runs in Arlington. His .374 career average at the Ballpark is second-highest among all active players and sixth-highest all-time among players with at least 75 at-bats at the park.
"I don't know necessarily what the right answer is," Seager said of his Arlington success. "That's a good pitching staff, so it's not like that's the case. But a couple times we've come here before and I made a few adjustments and hopefully I've got into a little rhythm."
Seager has some other favorite American League parks as well. He's hit .419 in 10 games at Progressive Field in Cleveland and .405 in 10 games at Rogers Centre in Toronto. He's fared better on the road in his career, batting .299 in 161 away games and .236 in 166 games at Safeco Field.
Seager has hit .267 with six home runs at home this year and .300 with 12 home runs on the road.
After rough outing, Farquhar bounces right back
ARLINGTON -- Danny Farquhar's career as a Major League closer spans all of two weeks, but the 5-foot-9 right-hander survived one of the first critical tests when he rebounded from his first blown save with a perfect ninth inning in Friday's 3-1 win over the Rangers.
Farquhar is 6-for-7 in save opportunities going into Saturday's game. While his rookie season stats are an unimposing 0-1 with a 5.03 ERA in 29 outings, he has a 2.84 ERA with just two runs, six hits, one walk and 10 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings since replacing Tom Wilhelmsen as the closer on Aug. 3.
Four of those hits and both runs came in the one rough outing when the Rays rallied to beat Farquhar on Wednesday. Otherwise, the 26-year-old has been golden for the past month, with a 1.15 ERA, two runs allowed, eight hits, four walks and 25 strikeouts in 15 1/3 innings in 12 outings since July 21.
"He bounced back perfect," said acting manager Robby Thompson. "[Pitching coach Carl Willis] had a talk with him after the blown save. I talked to him the other day in Tampa and he was great. I said to him, 'Sometimes you need that to see how you're going to bounce back.' He showed us it didn't bother him. Short memory and he was back on the hill and did a great job."
Farquhar continues to say that while he is new as the Mariners' closer, he has saved games for five years in the Minors as well as in a tough environment in the Venezuelan Winter League and he is just following the same routine now.
"It's always good after a rough outing just to get back on the mound, get back on that horse, and get after it again," he said.
Smoak cool with not batting in heart of order
ARLINGTON -- First baseman Justin Smoak has been putting up increasingly good numbers all season, but continues hitting sixth or seventh in the lineup as the Mariners stick with veteran sluggers Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez and Michael Morse in the heart of the order.
"It's been working and Smoak has been comfortable," said acting manager Robby Thompson. "He's done well. We did talk about, 'Do we move him up or leave him where he's been and not thinking about maybe I have to do more because I'm moved up the lineup?' So we'll just keep him there where he's done well and where he's comfortable."
Smoak, 26, said he's fine wherever he hits as long as he's producing.
"I've always hit in the middle of the order all my life, so it's not a big deal for me," he said. "Last year I hit in the four-spot a lot. It is what it is. We've got some veteran guys in the middle of the order now. My time will come."
Going into Saturday's game, Smoak had hit .345 with five home runs and 11 RBIs in the last 15 games. He's hit .304 with a .938 OPS since coming off the disabled list on June 18, raising his season average to .273 with 14 home runs and 34 RBIs.
Smoak has always hit well in Arlington, where he began his career before being traded to Seattle in 2010. He said it's fun playing well against the Rangers, though that factor is diminishing with time.
"I've been in Seattle now for two-three years and it's definitely not the same as the first time I came back," he said. "But I know a lot of the guys over there and the staff. It's hot here and I like playing in the heat. There's always a little something extra to go with it [playing his former team]. But the big thing is doing what it takes to win a ballgame and [Friday] night we were able to do that and hopefully we can get it done tonight, too."
• The Mariners were 28-24 against the American League West after Friday's win over the Rangers. They've gone 7-5 vs. the Astros, 8-5 vs. the A's, 7-6 vs. the Angels and 6-8 vs. Texas. Seattle hasn't had a winning record in the division since going 31-26 in 2009.
• Catcher Jesus Sucre was activated from the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Tacoma. Sucre has been on the DL since June 6 with a left wrist injury. He's hit .316 (6-for-19) in six rehab games with the Arizona Rookie League Mariners.