Dustin Ackley, the No. 2 pick in last year’s First-Year Player Draft, was among six roster cuts the Mariners made on Tuesday morning. And according to what general manager Jack Zduriencik told Jim Street of MLB.com, Ackley, who was drafted as an outfielder, will continue his transition to second base with Double-A West Tennessee.
“He is going to go out and play in games, and that’s the most
important thing,” Zduriencik said. “You have to realize that every
single time something happened to him in the field, it was the first
time it happened at that position.
“It was the first time for a rundown, first time turning a double play,
first time going after a popup in the outfield. That being said, he
impressed with his athletic ability and day-to-day improvement.”
The Mariners are currently tossing around the idea of using Chone Figgins at second base and Jose Lopez at third base this season, though there’s no confirmation that it will actually happen once the games count in the standings. Personally, I feel they may be trying to show Lopez’s versatility in order to make him more valuable in a potential trade. Either way, it appears that the 22-year-old Ackley won’t be long for the minors.
Nationals starter Max Scherzer bunted a ball into his face during batting practice on Tuesday, breaking his nose in the process. He ended up with a gnarly looking shiner around his right eye, making him appear a bit like Terminator. Scherzer still took the ball to start the second game of Wednesday night’s doubleheader against the Phillies.
Despite the injury, Scherzer was incredibly effective, limiting the Phillies to four hits and two walks across seven shutout innings, striking out 10 batters in the process. He might even have had some extra adrenaline going, as he averaged 96.2 MPH on his fastball, his highest average fastball velocity in a game since September 2012, per MLB.com’s Jamal Collier. The Nationals provided Scherzer with just one run of support, coming on a Brian Dozier solo home run off of Jake Arrieta in the second inning, but it was enough.
Wander Suero worked a scoreless top of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. Victor Robles added a solo homer off of Pat Neshek in the bottom half. Closer Sean Doolittle took over in the ninth, working a 1-2-3 frame to give the Nats their 2-0 victory.
Over his last six starts, Scherzer now has a 0.88 ERA with a 59/8 K/BB ratio across 41 innings. He has gone six innings, struck out at least nine batters, and held the opposition to two or fewer runs in each of those six starts.