ARLINGTON, Texas – Nick Franklin was back in at the No. 2 spot in the batting order for the Mariners on Friday despite a prolonged slump that had seen him hit just .199 since July 1.
The slump has intensified the last two-plus weeks, with Franklin hitting just .113 with an on-base-plus-slugging mark of .373.
Interim manager Robby Thompson said he doesn’t think the rookie second baseman is putting extra pressure on himself batting so high in the order.
“We’ve still got confidence in him and we’re going to keep him there, and hopefully he comes out of this thing,’’ Thompson said. “And if it continues on or gets worse, maybe we’ll have to make a move or drop him down (in the order) a little bit. But I don’t think hitting second is anything that’s putting pressure on him or anything.’’
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Franklin was hitless against Texas on Friday night, but also drew an eighth-inning walk ahead of a go-ahead Kyle Seager home run.
Thompson added that the team would only pull Franklin from the No. 2 spot if there was a need to help him relax more. Thompson did say he’s sensed that Franklin’s confidence has waned since he came up from AAA Tacoma in June.
“You know what, he’s gotten to the point where every now and then you can sense and see that he’s hanging his head a little bit,’’ Thompson said. “Maybe feeling sorry for himself. And that’s kind of to be expected up here. But we talked about it and that’s not allowed to happen.
“You’ve got to run through times at the plate where you’re not getting hits. But as a middle infielder and as a player in general, if you’re not getting hits, your focus should be on taking hits away when you’re in the field.’’
Franklin has had some defensive struggles as well. The team has decided to keep roving minor-league infield instructor Chris Woodward with the squad on this trip. He joined the Mariners earlier this week in Tampa because he has a home there.
Woodward has been working closely with Franklin and rookie shortstop Brad Miller in recent days.
Happy memories for Saunders
After Eastlake of Sammamish won its opener Thursday at the Little League World Series, Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders reminisced about his own experience at the Williamsport, Pa., tournament.
Saunders played for the Gordon Head Little League squad from Victoria, B.C., at the 1999 World Series.
“When we got there, people were asking for my autograph and I was like, ‘What the heck?’ ’’ he said. “We were in the opening game and played in front of 25,000 people. I was 12, so it left quite an impression on me.’’
Saunders said he nearly quit baseball the previous year because his team had played so poorly.
“My lacrosse team went to the provincials and I wanted to stick with lacrosse,’’ Saunders said. “But my dad convinced me to give it another try. After that is when I really got into baseball, and the (Little League) World Series had a lot to do with it.’’
• The home runs by Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak were the 145th and 146th of the season by the Mariners, leaving them three shy of their season total last year.
Seattle added to its major-league lead in accounting for runs via the long ball. The Mariners have scored 486 runs this season, including 230 — 47.3 percent — coming on home runs.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @gbakermariners