After seeing his team lose three out of four to the Indians over the weekend — including an extra-inning loss on Sunday — Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon has decided to shake things up for Monday’s game against the Yankees.
The big change, aside from Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz each moving up a spot in the order, is Logan Morrison at the top. This will be his first start out of the leadoff spot in his career. Morrison doesn’t offer the speed most usually associate with a leadoff man, but he’s been doing a nice job getting on base recently. While he has a .240/.321/.389 batting line on the year, he posted a .379 on-base percentage in May to go along with just as many walks (16) as strikeouts (16). It’s worth a shot, especially since Austin Jackson has a lowly .303 on-base percentage dating back to the start of 2014.
Mariners center fielder Austin Jackson was placed on the 15-day disabled list today, one day after suffering a right ankle sprain while legging out an infield grounder.
Jackson originally hoped to avoid the disabled list, but Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon told Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune that he wasn’t expected to be ready in two or three days and they didn’t want to go short-handed. Justin Ruggiano is expected to handle the majority of the playing time in center field during his absence.
Jackson is off to a slow start this season, batting just .242/.294/.326 with two home runs and four RBI over 25 games.
In addition to placing Jackson on the disabled list, the Mariners brought up infielder Chris Taylor and relievers Mark Lowe and Joe Biemel from Triple-A Tacoma while designating left-hander Mike Kickham for assignment and placing outfielder Julio Morban on the restricted list for personal reasons.
Between April 11-15, Mariners OF/DH Nelson Cruz homered in five consecutive games, including a two-home run game against the Dodgers. He entered Sunday’s game against the Rangers on a seven-game hitting streak, but hadn’t homered in two games. He changed that in a hurry.
Cruz belted a solo home run to left center in the first inning against Rangers starter Ross Detwiler, following a leadoff home run from Austin Jackson. Cruz homered again in the bottom of the third, a three-run shot to left field also off of Detwiler. With the game tied 10-10 in the bottom of the ninth, Cruz walked the Mariners off with an RBI single to left field off of Neftali Feliz. Cruz has a .354/.404/.854 triple-slash line with eight home runs and 14 RBI in 52 plate appearances across 12 games.
Here’s video of the walk off single:
Cruz, 34, signed a four-year, $57 million contract with the Mariners in December. With the Orioles in 2014, Cruz led the league with 40 home runs and also knocked in 108 runs.