Bill Baer

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Jean Segura and Nelson Cruz exit Thursday’s game with injuries

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Mariners shortstop Jean Segura left Thursday afternoon’s game against the Rockies after making the final out of the bottom of the fourth inning. Segura slid late into second base and appeared to jam his ankle.

Segura was 0-for-2 with a walk before exiting. Taylor Motter moved from left field to shortstop, Guillermo Heredia moved from center to left field, and Jarrod Dyson entered the game to play center. If Segura needs a stint on the disabled list, Motter will handle most of the playing time at shortstop.

DH Nelson Cruz was hit on the hand by an 89 MPH change-up from Kyle Freeland in the third inning. He stayed in the game but didn’t take his next at-bat in the fifth inning. Boog Powell pinch-hit for Cruz.

Segura entered Thursday’s action batting a league-leading .344 with an .858 OPS in 195 plate appearances. Cruz was hitting .279/.362/.519 with 12 home runs and an AL-best 42 RBI in 213 PA.

The Mariners should provide an update on the conditions of Segura and Cruz at some point this evening.

Phillies GM Matt Klentak doesn’t plan to demote Maikel Franco or Odubel Herrera

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The slumping Phillies get a reprieve on Thursday, but will enter Friday’s series opener against the Giants with a 17-34 record, worst in baseball. The team’s problems are manyfold, but two players whose struggles stick out are Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera.

Franco, who hit 25 home runs last season, has mustered a paltry .216/.273/.352 batting line with six home runs and 28 RBI in 194 plate appearances this season.

Herrera, the Phillies’ lone representative in the All-Star Game last year, hit .286/.361/.420 with 42 extra-base hits and 25 stolen bases last season. So far this season, he’s batting a measly .218/.262/.326 with 15 extra-base hits and four stolen bases in 206 PA.

Both Franco and Herrera have options, so they could be sent down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to figure things out. Franco, in particular, has reportedly been in jeopardy of a demotion. However, as CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury reports, GM Matt Klentak plans to let both players try to right their ships in the big leagues.

Klentak said of Franco, “We are committed to giving Maikel more time to get out of this. We believe in him. We have confidence that he will (break out). There are a lot of indicators, whether you’re looking at his exit velocities and launch angles — again, I don’t want to say he’s been a victim of bad luck by itself; it’s not the only thing, but there are reasons to believe he can get out this.”

The data doesn’t exactly paint a grim picture of Franco. Per FanGraphs, Franco is hitting a few more line drives than he did last year and is making harder contact overall as well.

As for Herrera, Klentak said, “I think he’s gotten himself into an offensive slump largely because he is not taking pitches as well as he has. When you see the productive Odubel Herrera — it’s when he’s taking close pitches, grinding out walks, pumping his fist and clapping his hands after a walk and pointing to the dugout. We haven’t seen that for the last month. We have a lot of reason to believe Odubel will come out of it. And the big thing is even when Odubel’s not hitting, he is impacting the game.”

Herrera’s walk rate has been nearly halved compared to last season, 9.6 to 5.3 percent. His strikeout rate has increased by 4.4 percent. He’s hitting more ground balls at the expense of line drives and he’s offering at significantly more pitches outside the strike zone — 34.1 percent last year, 44.5 percent this year.

Video: Pitcher Adam Wainwright homers against the Dodgers

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Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright is no slouch at the plate. The veteran came into Thursday’s start against the Dodgers with nine career home runs to his name. He made it into double-digits with a two-run home run off of opposing starter Brandon McCarthy in the bottom of the second inning, breaking a scoreless tie.

According to Baseball Reference, Wainwright is the 45th pitcher in baseball history to hit double-digit home runs in his career. Among pitchers whose careers started this millennium, Wainwright is only the fourth pitcher with double-digit homers, joining Madison Bumgarner (16), Yovani Gallardo (12), and Carlos Zambrano (24).

Wainwright was also dealing on the mound. He tossed six shutout innings, giving up four hits and a pair of walks with six strikeouts on 101 pitches.