By Brady Henderson
The Mariners likely didn’t plan on recalling Dustin Ackley within two weeks when they sent their struggling second baseman to Triple-A Tacoma on May 27.
But that plan could change now that injuries have left the club shorthanded of late and Ackley has been swinging a hot bat for the Rainiers, hitting .408 with five extra-base hits, eight RBIs, 10 walks and seven strikeouts in 11 games.
“His first game down here he went 0 for 4 and took a bunch of strikes and looked just like the guy that the Mariners sent down,” Rainiers broadcaster Mike Curto told “Bob and Groz” on Monday. “And then since then he’s been a bit more aggressive. He has 20 hits in the last 10 games, he’s batting over .400 with the Rainiers, he’s only played 11 games here, he’s walked more than he’s struck out here.”
Ackley had the same number of RBIs and extra-base hits in 45 games with the Mariners as he does in 11 games in Tacoma. He was hitting just .205 with 31 strikeouts and 12 walks before his demotion. According to Curto, the improvement he’s showing in Tacoma is even more encouraging considering the caliber of pitchers Ackley has had success against.
“He hasn’t just been feasting on Triple-A guys. Vegas the other day started Zach Wheeler, who throws in the upper-90s on the radar gun, and Ackley had two hard hits off him, including an opposite-field double that he hit to the fence. Then they brought in a left-handed reliever who was throwing 92, 93 and Ackley had a hard base hit against him,” Curto said. “So these were encouraging things, and hopefully he’s getting back on track and getting his confidence and getting closer to returning.
“The only question you have to ask, though, is what are they going to do because Nick Franklin is playing second base and playing well, and that’s what Ackley has been playing down here at Triple-A. So I don’t really know how they’re going to solve this.”
Dave Grosby has an idea, and he shares it in the video below.
You can listen to Monday’s show here.