There’s a neat little trick Ty France can do with his bat.

He uses four fingers, no thumb, to balance the bat on one hand, palm up, and then feverishly flips the bat over and over, faster and faster, in front of him in a circle. It’s something you’d expect to see at halftime of a college-football game or in a fight scene of a Marvel movie.

In this case, France was casually performing the routine as he waited his turn Saturday afternoon outside the batting cage at T-Mobile Park, four hours before first pitch.

Players were given the afternoon off Saturday. No team batting practice was scheduled before the Mariners-Guardians game that night. Many of them showed up anyway for a 1 p.m. news conference announcing Julio Rodriguez’s contract extension; by 3 p.m., France was the first on the field.

France, in the midst of the worst hitting slump of his career, had the pitching machine placed about 45 feet in front of the plate. He then took turns in the cage with teammate Dylan Moore.


“We turned the velocity up as fast as it could go,” he said later, “and just tried to get on time for it. When you turn the machine up that high, you don’t really have time to think about anything. Your body just gets in a good place and kind of just shows you when you’re taking good swings and when you’re not.”

France ended the weekend in a better place. He singled in his second at-bat Sunday to break an 0-for-21 slide and homered in his next at-bat in the Mariners’ 4-0, series-clinching victory over Cleveland. Moore’s three-run homer in the fifth inning had given the Mariners the lead.

“After the first hit, it definitely felt like a weight was lifted off [my shoulders],” France said afterward.

For a Mariners offense that has been, generously, inconsistent this season, France’s turnaround is a necessity. The Mariners (70-58) begin a six-game road trip Tuesday in Detroit fighting to stay in the wild-card playoff race, and France found his swing just in time.

“The most exciting thing [for] anybody has been watching us all year long — we need Ty France’s bat back,” manager Scott Servais said Sunday. “So I’m really excited about that.”

France, a 34th-round pick in 2015, made his first All-Star team this season, slashing .308/.376/.470 (.846 OPS) with 11 homers and 49 RBI in the first half of the season, and his 2.1 wins above replacement, per FanGraphs, ranked second among American League first basemen.


But he was hitting just .122 with 15 strikeouts in 74 August at-bats entering Sunday.

France had sat out four games at the beginning of the month because of a wrist injury, but he had insisted the wrist wasn’t the root of his struggles at the plate.

It got worse before it got better. He had to leave Thursday’s game after a collision at first base with Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez, and he was ejected Saturday after arguing with home-plate umpire Lance Barrett.

“He’s a really bad dude when he’s in a slump,” Servais said.

After striking out in his first at-bat Sunday, France had a solid line-drive single to left field in the fifth inning, starting the Mariners’ first scoring opportunity. He led off the seventh inning and turned on a 1-0 fastball from Cleveland’s Aaron Civale, hitting it 398 feet off the facing of the second deck in left field.

It was his 15th homer of the season and first since Aug. 6.


“Hopefully this gets him going. We need him,” Servais said. “He’s been our best offensive player all year long. These things happen. … I’m glad it’s happening now and not Sept. 20. All these games are going to be big. So let’s get it out of the way and move forward.”

France was confident the turnaround would come, eventually.

“Every player in the game, they’re gonna go through their waves,” he said. “For me, it was one of those things where I knew I was gonna get out of it. It was just a matter of when. This is probably one of the longer ones I’ve ever had, but I knew I was gonna come out of it at some point, and hopefully today it was the start of the climb.”

Evan White reinstated from IL

First baseman Evan White was reinstated from the 60-day injured list and optioned to Class AAA Tacoma on Monday, the team announced.

White, 26, was placed on the 10-day IL (sports hernia) April 7 and transferred to the 60-day IL on April 28. In his most recent rehab assignment with Tacoma, he hit .250 (11-for-44) with four home runs, four doubles in 13 appearances.

In 2021, White appeared in 30 games with the Mariners, hitting .144 (14-for-97) with two homers and three doubles. He was placed on the injured list with a strained left hip flexor May 14, 2021, and missed the remainder of the season.