Mariners expecting to face a string of right-handers, meaning Adam Lind should get plenty of playing time
On the wall of his office at Safeco Field, Mariners manager Scott Servais has a whiteboard with the games of the month and projected starting pitchers his team will face.
A quick glance shows the Mariners would likely face two, possibly three, left-handers the rest of May.
The team hopes facing a string of right-handers, including three in a row this weekend against the Angels, will help the slumping bat of first baseman Adam Lind.
“That’s the plan,” Lind said. “I’ve been working on some things and I think I’ve been making progress. Just go out there and keep swinging.”
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While the Mariners have exceeded expectations on offense this season, Lind has yet to reach that level of production. Lind came into Friday hitting just .197 (15 for 76) with a .449 on-base plus slugging percentage against right-handers. That’s nowhere near the .292 batting average and .887 OPS Lind put up against right-handers last season. For his career, Lind has a .290 average and .853 OPS.
Lind had a hot stretch earlier this season for nine games where he hit .441 (12 for 29), but over the past nine games he has just four hits in 31 at-bats.
“This is kind of who I am,” he said. “I’m kind of really good or really bad. I’ve never been like a .260-type hitter. I’m streaky. But when it’s good, those streaks can last for a while.”
Lind has been a victim of defensive shifts this season, hitting several hard balls into the overloaded right side of the field.
“I think I’ve ran into some bad luck, too,” he said. “I hit some balls hard to where my tendencies show I hit the ball. But everyone is getting shifted on, not just me. Sometimes you have to take what’s given.”
And that goes for pitches too. Lind’s mantra of “keep swinging” has been an issue because he hasn’t been selective enough. Servais said he believes Lind’s biggest issue has been swinging at pitches out of the strike zone — 43.1 percent of his swings, to be exact.
“That’s the biggest thing,” Servais said. “Adam is about as carefree as anybody, but he knows he needs to get it going and he’s trying to make adjustments. When you swing at that many pitches out of the strike zone, your timing is late and you are late getting to the hitting position. That’s what he’s working on with Edgar (Martinez). He’s just trying to get there early to recognize fastball or breaking ball, ball or strike.”
• Joaquin Benoit and Charlie Furbush will make another step in their recoveries from shoulder strains. Both pitchers are scheduled to throw simulated games Saturday. Tony Zych is scheduled play catch Saturday. It is supposed to be light throwing from about 60 feet.