5/21/2014 2:12 P.M. ET
Seager working to beat the shift
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Kyle Seager knows the way to beat a shift is to show opposing teams he can hit the ball down the left-field line when he wants, so the Mariners third baseman took a couple shots that direction in his first two at-bats in Tuesday's 6-2 victory over the Rangers.
On Seager's first time to the plate in the second inning, he drove a line drive deep down the left-field line that just landed foul by a few feet. With Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre still shifted all the way over to the shortstop hole, Seager then squared a bunt down the third-base line and sprinted to first, thinking he'd dropped in a well-placed single.
Instead, the four-time Gold Glover raced over, barehanded the ball and fired to first to nick a stunned Seager.
"There's nobody [else] that can make that play," said Seager. "That was unbelievable, going as far across his body as he did. I had to come in here and actually watch it [on video] because I'm sitting there running and I get thrown out and I'm trying to figure out how in the world that happened with him being shifted over like that.
"I bunted it hard and didn't put it right down the line. But still, I don't think any other third baseman would have even tried to throw it. I think they'd just go over there and pick it up. He's pretty special."
Manager Lloyd McClendon said Seager and Justin Smoak have both begun working the ball better to the opposite field in batting practice as well as games and believes that will pay off in the long run. But McClendon, too, was shaking his head at Beltre's effort against Seager's bunt.
"I don't know any other player in baseball that makes that play," McClendon said. "Maybe [Evan] Longoria. It was just phenomenal. I don't know if people appreciate just how good that play was."
Told that Seager appreciated it, McClendon laughed.
"I don't know if he appreciated it, from the words coming out of his mouth in the dugout," McClendon said.
But Seager won Round 2 when he came to the plate with the bases loaded in the third inning and blooped a two-run single over Beltre's head into shallow left. Even then, the play was closer than he expected.
"I thought I hit it better than that and it was going to bloop in there pretty easily," said Seager. "He made a really, really nice play on the first one, so I figured I can't go in front of him, I need to bloop it over him."
With more and more teams shifting their infield against left-handed hitters, Seager knows he needs to prove he can consistently go the other way in order to make defenses pay for that strategy. It's a chess game that will play out over time and continues to be a topic between McClendon, hitting coach Howard Johnson and Mariners batters.
"That's something I've talked a lot about with McClendon and HoJo and those guys," said Seager, who wound up going 3-for-5 on the night. "It's something we've worked on in BP. If you're going to continue to progress as a hitter, you've got to be able to hit it to all fields. Kind of knowing the scouting report, especially with them shifting, I wasn't just trying to hit a little ground ball over there. I was trying to drive it.
"You don't just want to be one-dimensional. You open the field up, then you can get ground balls to the right side and you start having those holes. But if you're just pulling it non-stop, then those holes aren't there anymore."
Paxton, Lomo close to rehab stints
ARLINGTON -- Outfielder/first baseman Logan Morrison and left-handed starter James Paxton are both on line to begin Minor League rehab assignments this weekend, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said Wednesday.
Morrison has been on the 15-day disabled list since April 15 with a strained right hamstring and re-injured his leg while running the bases on April 29, but he's been working out with the team and hitting on the current road trip and is ready to start playing games.
"He ran well today," McClendon said prior to Wednesday's series finale with the Rangers. "If all goes well tomorrow, he'll go out on a rehab Friday in Tacoma."
Paxton, on the DL since April 8 with a strained left lat muscle, threw a three-inning simulated game on Tuesday and will throw in the bullpen on Thursday when the team returns to Safeco Field to open an 11-game homestand. If there are no problems Thursday, the 25-year-old southpaw will likely start his own rehab stint in Tacoma on Sunday.
The Mariners aren't setting any firm timeline, but if Paxton throws two Minor League rehab games, he'd then be ready to rejoin the Mariners the first week of June.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker is about a week behind Paxton in his own throwing schedule as he returns from a shoulder impingement that shut him down in mid-April. He'll throw another simulated game at Safeco Field sometime this weekend before a decision is made on when to send him on his own Minor League rehab.
Bradley headed to draft for Mariners
ARLINGTON -- Former Mariners catcher Scott Bradley, who currently works as the head baseball coach at Princeton, will represent Seattle at the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft in New York.
Bradley, 54, played for the Mariners from 1986-92 and was the catcher for Randy Johnson's no-hitter in 1990.
Bradley was a nine-year Major League veteran and spent seven seasons with Seattle, where he hit .259 with 18 home runs and 180 RBIs in 562 games. Bradley began his career with the Yankees in 1984 and also played briefly with the White Sox before getting traded to the Mariners in '86.
The Mariners' front office and scouts will work from team headquarters at Safeco Field, with Bradley on hand in New York to turn in the first-round selection.
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 3 p.m. PT. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 4 p.m. PT, with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 9:30 a.m. PT on June 6.
The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. ET on June 6.
MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.
• The Mariners open a season-high 11-game homestand on Thursday and will face the Astros and Angels for four games and the Tigers for three. Thursday will be Sriracha Night, Friday is a King's Court Night and Saturday will be Turn Back the Clock Night, with the Astros and Mariners wearing 1979 uniforms and Lenny Wilkens throwing out the first pitch. Wilkens was coach of the 1979 NBA championship Sonics team.
• Hisashi Iwakuma became the 12th starting pitcher in club history to throw three consecutive eight-inning starts while allowing two or fewer runs. Felix Hernandez has had four such streaks and Randy Johnson and Mike Moore pulled it off three times apiece.