8/14/2014 4:27 A.M. ET
Saunders to resume rehab after birth of son
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Manager Lloyd McClendon said Wednesday that Michael Saunders' wife has given birth to their second child, a baby boy, and the Mariners right fielder will now resume his Minor League rehab stint with Triple-A Tacoma.
Saunders, 27, has been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained oblique muscle in his left side since July 11. He's hit .353 in five games with Tacoma, but now will need some more playing time with the Rainiers before being ready to rejoin the Mariners.
"He's not going to come right here, no," McClendon said. "He's got to go get some at-bats. Michael and I have had that conversation. He texted me the other day and said, 'I'm ready.' I said, 'Good, keep playing.'"
McClendon said the hope is that Saunders can rejoin Tacoma on Thursday in New Orleans, though that wasn't a definite yet.
Saunders has hit .276 with six home runs and 28 RBIs in 65 games for Seattle this season, with two stints now on the DL with a right shoulder injury and now the oblique strain. In five games with Tacoma on this rehab stint, he's gone 6-for-17 with a double, three runs, two RBIs and seven walks.
Morales turning a corner at the plate
SEATTLE -- Kendrys Morales didn't wield the big bat in the middle of the order the Mariners had hoped for in his first two weeks with the club, but the veteran designated hitter has driven the ball better the last couple games and is showing signs of life.
Morales hit his first home run in 17 games with Seattle in Tuesday's 6-3 win over the Blue Jays and also doubled, giving him three extra-base hits in two games after totaling just two doubles in his first 15 outings after being acquired by trade from the Twins on July 24.
Morales' two-run homer in the first inning of Wednesday's victory off Blue Jays knuckleballer R.A. Dickey was Morales' second home run in as many nights and provided Seattle's only offense of the night.
Morales went 2-for-3 with a walk in the 2-0 win, raising his average to .206 with Seattle and .225 on the season. He has shown signs of breaking out in the last five games, hitting .350 (7-for-20) with two doubles and two home runs.
"The coaches have corrected a few things in my swing," Morales said after Wednesday's game. "I'm feeling really comfortable and hopefully that continues going forward. They brought me here for a reason. While I haven't had the results up to this point, I'm going to keep working hard to bring that production."
The 31-year-old Cuban brought just a .185/.236/.292 slash line into Wednesday's series finale with Toronto, but his .882 OPS over the last four games certainly was a welcome signal that he could be turning the corner after holding out the first 3 1/2 months of the season and then playing 39 games for Minnesota.
"Our coaching staff has taken a big interest in me having success," Morales said through interpreter Fernando Alcala. "We've been working real hard and it's starting to pay off."
A career .274 hitter who batted .277 with 23 homers and 80 RBIs last year for Seattle, the eight-year Major League veteran insists he's not been pressing trying to get going for his new/old club. Instead, he says he's just trying to get into a groove after his late start.
"I'm just trying to get comfortable at the plate," Morales said. "I want to produce because the team needs it, but I haven't been putting any additional pressure on myself."
Manager Lloyd McClendon has continued playing Morales through his struggles and believes that patience will pay off.
"The at-bats he's had up to now are really his Spring Training at-bats," McClendon said prior to Wednesday's game. "I know he worked hard to get himself into shape in Minnesota and he's trying to catch up on his strength. He's starting to settle in a little bit and swing better. I see him taking much better BP and driving the ball to all fields, really staying inside the ball. Last night was good evidence of that."
• Kyle Seager hit his 18th home run of the season Tuesday. He needs two more to become the first Mariners player since Raul Ibanez (2005-08) to have 20 or more home runs in at least three consecutive seasons. Ken Griffey Jr. and Jim Presley are the only Mariners players with 20-plus homers in three of their first Major League seasons.
• McClendon notched his 400th career win Tuesday, with 336 of those coming in his five seasons with the Pirates from 2001-05. He already has exceeded the number of games he won his first season in Pittsburgh (62-100), as well as his last season when he was dismissed with a 55-81 mark.
• McClendon said rookie southpaw Roenis Elias will be recalled to start Monday, Aug. 18, in Philadelphia. Elias threw five scoreless innings with no hits, one walk and six strikeouts in 62 pitches for Tacoma on Wednesday in New Orleans.