4/27/2014 3:19 P.M. ET
Almonte gets a mental break
By Adam Lewis / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- For the first time in 2014, center fielder Abraham Almonte wasn't in the Mariners' starting lineup Sunday.
"I'm just trying to give Almonte a little time off -- two days off to clear his mind a little bit. This stuff can be overwhelming sometimes," manager Lloyd McClendon said before the series finale against Texas. "I know what he's going through. We still believe in the young man. We want him to flourish but I don't want it to overwhelm him."
Almonte leads the American League with 36 strikeouts, tied with Pittsburgh's Starling Marte for the Major League lead. Almonte went 0-for-5 and fanned three times in Saturday's 6-3 loss to the Rangers and is 3-for-29 in his last seven games, dropping his batting average to .204.
How has his first month of the season gone?
"Not good," McClendon said. "But he's in a boat with a lot of other guys. I know because he's in a leadoff spot and because he leads off the first at-bat of the game everybody wants to make a big deal about Almonte.
"We got a lot of guys not hitting. We got guys that should be hitting and have had time in the big leagues that aren't hitting," McClendon said. "I don't want to put everything on this guy's shoulders and say our offensive woes are about Almonte. That's just not the case."
The Mariners entered Sunday five games below .500 at 9-14 and near the bottom of the AL in most major offensive statistical categories, including batting average, on-base percentage and runs. Facing left-handed pitcher Matt Harrison, McClendon moved right-hander Stefen Romero to the No. 2 spot in the order and gave struggling shortstop Brad Miller and left fielder Dustin Ackley the day off.
For the second consecutive game, outfielder Michael Saunders was hitting leadoff, though Sunday marked his first start of the year in center.
McClendon said he wanted to give Miller and Almonte an extra day to recoup before Seattle embarks on a 10-game road trip that takes them to New York, Houston and Oakland.
"They're just not getting positive results. Yogi Berra says this game is 90 percent mental and the other 50 percent is physical. He's absolutely right," McClendon said. "This is a results-oriented game. We can talk about all the stats and you can put a spin on stats… all of it, all of it's [crap]. It's all about winning the game. If you win the game, everything's fine."
Seager getting back on track
SEATTLE -- After a slow start to the season, third baseman Kyle Seager has put together three consecutive multi-hit games and is batting .346 (9-for-26) with six runs, a double, three homers, seven RBIs and a 1.124 OPS during his last eight games.
"I've been able to do some good work in the cages with [hitting coach Howard Johnson] and [McClendon] and everybody so it's been positive," Seager said Saturday. "It's felt good for the last week or so. Sometimes you're feeling good and you don't get the results you want, but it's starting to feel better for sure."
McClendon said he'd eventually prefer to put Seager in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, but that he needs to first show him he can hit consistently. Going into Sunday, Seager's average was just .213.
"We overanalyze stuff. He's the same guy," McClendon said of Seager's last week. "He's just getting some positive results. Almonte and Miller are the same guy. They're just not getting positive results."
• During a six-game hitting streak, Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano is batting .409 (9-for-22). Cano has a hit 19 of 23 games this season, although his .718 OPS is more than 100 points below his career average.
• After picking up a no-decision and striking out four in Saturday's loss to Texas, Felix Hernandez leads the AL with 47 strikeouts.
Adam Lewis is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.