Kyle Seager is starting to heat up at the plate and he also isn't afraid to poke fun at himself over the success of his younger brother, Corey.
OAKLAND — Corey’s brother is starting to heat up at the plate for the Mariners and it couldn’t come at a more important time.
Kyle Seager has never been afraid to often joke about how his younger brother, Corey, has begun to overshadow him in the baseball world. In his self-deprecating sense of humor, he’s quick to point out that his younger sibling is taller, faster, more popular, has more hair, was a higher draft pick, possesses more natural talent and has played in the postseason. All of which are true on some level.
“Maybe I should just get some bats with his name on it or something,” Seager joked.
So when MLB released the colorful jerseys for the “Player’s Weekend” on Aug. 25-27, complete with nicknames of each player on the back if they so desired, it wasn’t surprising that the back of Seager’s jersey read: “Corey’s Brother.”
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He initially asked for “Corey Seager’s Brother” on the back but it wouldn’t fit. That moniker also would’ve matched the name of his fantasy football team that won the Mariners’ players fantasy league last season.
“It’s all in good fun,” he said. “I didn’t expect it to come out this early. I thought it was going to come out day of the game. I figured he’d get a good laugh out of it. He didn’t know about it.”
Corey Seager’s Dodgers jersey for that weekend has the nickname of … “Seager.” Cue the sad trombone.
His older brother shook his head in disappointment and disgust.
“He’s boring,” Kyle Seager said. “You’ve gotta to do better than that. If you’re going to play that good, then you gotta do something.”
Despite his machinations about being second fiddle to his brother, Kyle Seager is still a fine player in his own right, regardless of who he is related to. He’s been selected to an All-Star game and is part of the Mariners’ heart of the batting order. Admittedly, the first half of this season — hitting .248 with a .723 on-base plus slugging percentage, 18 doubles, 10 homers and 47 RBI — didn’t meet his lofty expectations or those that Mariners’ fans hold for him. But he’s starting to get hot coming out of the All-Star break.
Seager hammered a big first-inning, three-run homer on Wednesday afternoon to kick start a 6-3 win for the Mariners over the Oakland A’s. It was Seager’s 17th homer of the season.
“Big, big homer for us,” manager Scott Servais said.
Even then, Seager had to watch from the on-deck circle as Nelson Cruz, who bats in front of him, bash two astonishing home runs of 450 and 446 feet later in the game
“It’s a tough to spot to be in to be honest with you,” he deadpanned. “Even if I hit one as hard as I can, I don’t look good. There are a lot of times where bunting crosses my mind a lot. I’m just trying not to embarrass myself. I can hit it as hard as I can and I can really not look good. It was cool being in the front row today. It’s really cool being on deck when he gets a hold of one because he can do stuff like that a lot of guys can’t do.”
All kidding aside, Seager is batting .292 (28 for 96) with 10 doubles, seven homers, 13 RBI and an OPS over .900 in his last 25 games. He has yet to have one of his typical hot streaks of three weeks to a month where he hits everything hard. Perhaps this is the start.
If he stays on that pace, Corey’s brother could help the Mariners reach the postseason for the time since 2001.
Padded walls and no fear
Ben Gamel doesn’t see the big deal about the fantastic catches he makes where he hurls his body into the walls of whatever baseball stadium he is playing that game without any sort of regard for his health or safety. It’s just how he plays.
“All my life,” he said.
It was apparent with the leaping grab he made in foul territory in Minnesota earlier this season. He offered a reminder in Wednesday’s win over the A’s. Gamel made a brilliant leaping grab of Marcus Semien’s rocket to left field in the fifth inning. Gamel tracked the ball immediately off the bat, leapt at the last moment, caught the ball on the palm/heel of his glove, smashed shoulder first into the wall and then secured the ball as he fell to the ground.
“Just trying to make a play is all I can really explain,” he said. “The walls are padded so it makes it a little easier on your body.”
Spoken like a rookie that bounces back quite quickly.
“That was a heck of a catch,” Servais said. “I don’t know how far he had to jump to catch the ball. But just no worry there, he’s just throwing his body around out there trying to make a play and he went after it. It’s what he’s done all year.”
There isn’t really a way to practice that kind of play coming up through the minors. But Gamel has practiced it before.
“When we were little,” he said. “We were rolling around the living room and doing stuff like that.”
Right-hander pitcher Cody Martin was outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma on Wednesday, giving the Mariners an open spot on the 40-man roster. The Mariners could use that spot to acquire a player or activate reliever Shae Simmons from the 60-day disabled list. Simmons is currently pitching a rehab assignment for Class AAA Tacoma.