By Shannon Drayer
HOUSTON – Some quick notes before wheels up and a four-hour flight to Oakland.
For those of you keeping track at home, that’s four hours and 45 minutes to New York, four hours to Houston and now four hours to Oakland. For some strange reason the Mariners couldn’t play New York after Miami on the last road trip and they never play the Astros and Rangers on the same road trip. Thanks, MLB, schedulers and redistributors of the divisions (seriously, Houston is a long way from Seattle and everything else. Except Arlington). End of rant.
Abraham Almonte is heading to Tacoma after hitting just .198 with a .248 on-base percentage through 26 games. (AP)
Abraham Almonte has been optioned to Triple-A Tacoma. The writing has been on the wall for the last couple of days but the move was just made. As I wrote Saturday, this move is best for the team and the individual. Almonte has looked nothing like what he looked like in the minor leagues and it was clear he couldn’t get back to that at this level. He himself admitted he hasn’t been comfortable.
“I just need to keep working and start to get my good feeling at the plate,” he said. “I think the only thing I need is to go down there and start feeling the way I used to feel at the plate and I think everything will be okay.”
He told me it has been a while since he has felt good at the plate.
“It’s been a tough time,” he said. “The whole spring training, and I got a couple of good games early in the season but I still don’t feel the way I like at the plate. I feel very close right now. I hope it doesn’t take long.”
So Almonte is sent down and a corresponding move will be announced Monday. While the Mariners could use another arm for the Oakland series, it doesn’t appear that there is one that would fit the bill. Lucas Luetge, who was sent down Saturday, must stay down for 10 days before he can be recalled unless there is an injury. Carson Smith is on the seven-day disabled list and not on the 40-man roster. By all accounts Stephen Pryor is not yet ready.
There may be options not on the 40-man roster but I don’t think we will see a move made there unless absolutely necessary. I would expect to see James Jones called up Monday.
• Two-inning efforts from Tom Wilhelmsen and Danny Farquhar should have the bullpen back in manageable shape, manager Lloyd McClendon said after the game.
• We saw a first from Dustin Ackley, who drew the first bases-loaded walk of his career. While he put up an 0-for-2 in the box score, he drew two walks and moved a runner to third on a 4-3 putout as well. Ackley is a career .586 hitter with the bases loaded.
• Extremely small sample size, but so far so good. With two more hits, Michael Saunders is 8 for 18 and hitting .444 in the leadoff spot.