Early in Kyle Seager’s return, there’s a lot to like about Mariners’ new-look 3B
May 28, 2019, 12:25 PM | Updated: 7:36 pm
In 2018, Kyle Seager scuffled to a career-low .221 batting average as the Mariners third baseman was frustrated time and time again by teams shifting their defense to the right side against the pull-heavy lefty swinger.
In the offseason, Seager went to work to cut down his weight and add flexibility in an effort to open up his swing to more areas of the field. Results were promising in spring training, until disaster struck in the form of a injured extensor tendon in Seager’s left hand that required surgery. Just like that, the 31-year-old Seager found himself on the injured list for the first time in his career, missing the Mariners’ first 53 games.
A notoriously slow starter coming off the worst year of his career, there was plenty of reason for concern when it came to Seager’s return to the Mariners over the weekend, even with his slimmed down figure that makes him look a lot closer to the athletic middle infielder he was coming up through the Mariners farm system early this decade than the lumbering power hitter he turned into.
Three games into Seager’s 2019 season, however, and he’s only showing signs that should encourage the Mariners and their fans. Seager is 4 for 11 with a double and an RBI entering Tuesday’s game against Texas, and all of his hits have been to the opposite field – just like his offseason work was designed.
“Obviously this is good news for him and for the Mariners,” Mike Salk said Tuesday on 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk. “Kyle Seager was supposed to have transformed his body in the offseason, and he did. If you’ve seen him over the last couple of games, he looks leaner, more athletic, more like a a baseball player than the guy he had turned into that had gotten, I think, stiff over the last few seasons. … I’m glad that he’s starting to see some of that pay dividends.”
Even with the small sample size, Brock Huard said Seager is passing the eye test.
“He’s a different guy. He committed to it,” Huard said. “I think one thing you can do, and we’ve seen this with Tom Brady into his 42 years of age, when you diet right and you take care of yourself, balance, flexibility, some of the durability that can come with that rather than just being bound up and stiff – ‘Oh, I gotta try to hit 30 bombs’ – I think this frees him up to be a lot more of what he was when he came up. He was an athletic second baseman when he came to the big leagues, shifted over to third, put on some weight, got tight, got stiff, even played through some injuries. But man, he just looks more fluid, he looks more natural and he’s off to a great start.”
While Seager can help the Mariners on the field, Salk is optimistic his new look and ability to hit the other way will help the M’s in a different fashion.
“It’s good news for the Mariners because as part of this rebuild it would be nice to generate enough interest in Kyle Seager around the league to be able to deal him and be able to bring back some more prospects and get out from as much of that contract as possible,” Salk said. “They need him to hit well in order to do it, so good news.”
You can hear the full conversation on Brock and Salk about Seager in the Good News, Bad News, No News segment in this podcast from Tuesday’s show.
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