BALTIMORE – Kendrys Morales is on his hottest hitting tear in years and wants to keep it that way.
And that’s why Morales said he doesn’t plan to talk about a possible contract extension with the Mariners before the season ends. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik has indicated he’ll explore extending some veteran players as the season winds down and Morales certainly seems a prime candidate for that.
“I feel comfortable here. I like what I see,’’ Morales said, with bullpen coach Jaime Navarro doing the translation. “We have a young team and I like the team a lot. But that’s not a decision I can make. That’s something they need to work out up in the (front) office. I’m not going to worry about it. I’m just worrying about helping the team.’’
Morales added: “I haven’t worried about it. I’m worrying about finishing strong and then we’re going to talk about it.’’
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If Morales hopes to finish strong, he’s certainly off to a good start on this road trip. He entered Saturday’s game with 13 hits the first four games of the trip, including hits in eight consecutive plate appearances – one shy of the team record.
His bid for the record ended when Morales grounded out to pitcher Scott Feldman in the first inning. But Morales entered the night hitting .298 with 17 home runs, 63 runs batted in and an on-base-plus-slugging mark of .841.
Several of his recent hits have come on the first pitch, something Morales has been conscious of.
“I’m trying to be aggressive on the first pitch,’’ he said. “If they throw it for a strike, then I’m going to go after it.’’
• Mariners shortstop Brad Miller was a touch upset with himself after bobbling another ground ball before he could transfer it to his throwing hand in Friday’s game. Miller has dropped several balls in similar fashion on this trip and said that can’t happen.
“It’s just going in and out of my glove,’’ Miller said. “And that can’t happen. It’s pretty simple.’’
Mariners interim manager Robby Thompson, who doubles as the team’s infield coach, said he’s looked at video footage of Miller’s recent games and has an idea what the problem is.
“A lot of it is in the transfer, in the exchange,’’ Thompson said. “I think he’s maybe being a little too quick and he’s not pulling the ball up into the body — he’s kind of to the side … and when you do that, you tend to lose the ball at times.’’
• Dustin Ackley sat out his second straight game Saturday as Thompson again played Michael Saunders in center field. Thompson said he’s spoken to Ackley and assured him he’s going to get playing time.
“Ackley’s in kind of a transition from the infield to the outfield. He’s done a good job out there,’’ Thompson said. “We want to kind of get him in left field, too, so we can get him some playing time out there.’’
• Injured pitcher Stephen Pryor had an MRI on his throwing arm in Seattle and could be done for the season. Thompson said the team is still awaiting final word on the exam amid concern Pryor has damage to his triceps area. Pryor has been on the disabled list since April, but Zduriencik said after the July 31 trade deadline passed that he was counting on the pitcher being added to the bullpen in coming weeks.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @gbakermariners.