There was a bit of news today in the Mariners’ farm system. Alex Jackson, the team’s top draft pick from the 2014 draft (No. 6 overall), was optioned back to extended spring training from Class A Clinton.
Jackson was struggling with the LumberKings. He was hitting .157 (17-for-108) with six doubles, no homers and 13 RBI in 28 games. Jackson had a .240 0n-base percentage with a .240 slugging percentage. He had also struck out 35 times with just six walks.
But it wasn’t just about poor numbers. Jackson was bothered by an aching left shoulder and Mariners’ director of player development Chris Gwynn decided it was time to shut him down.
“His left shoulder has been bothering him,” Gwynn said via phone from Arizona. “He hurt it in spring training diving for the ball.”
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That injury came at the end of spring training in a minor league spring training game. Jackson had been scheduled to play in some Cactus League games with the Mariners near the end, but he was scratched in order to heal up for the season. But the pain in the shoulder started to return after the rigors of playing on daily basis.
“We just want to make sure he’s healthy so we decided to bring him back here,” Gwynn said.
Jackson will meet with the Mariners’ medical staff to have the shoulder checked out more. He will undergo treatment and strengthen the shoulder before returning to baseball activity.
“We’ll assess it when we deem him healthy,” Gwynn said.
Was the shoulder affecting Jackson’s swing and production at the plate?
“I don’t know, probably,” Gwynn said. “It’s a tough leap for a high school kid going to this league, a lot of guys would struggle.”
Jackson, 19, played a partial season in the Arizona rookie league, but a broken jaw suffered from a line drive to the face, sidelined him for much of it. The Mariners felt that his advanced approach and baseball maturity would allow him to skip Class A Everett and go directly to full-season Clinton. But he has struggled with the advanced competition. The injury also played into it. And the Mariners decided to not take any chances.
“The first thing is being totally healthy because when you aren’t totally healthy, one thing affects another thing and the next thing you know you have bad mechanics and bad habits,” Gwynn said. “We just want to stay away from that. So we are going to make sure he’s healthy before going back on the field.”
Gwynn could sense some frustration from Jackson with the injury and the struggles.
“He’s doing okay,” Gwynn said. “He’s never really struggled, ever. I’m sure that’s been different for him. He’s a 19-year-old kid. He loves to play and can’t wait to get back on the field.”
Here is today’s Mariners’ minor league round-up, which offers the team’s official minor league report from Kelly Munro that features, notes, stats and box scores. There are also game results on all of the organization’s minor league affiliates that were in action.
Class AAA Tacoma
The Rainiers were shutout by Vegas, managing just four hits in the loss. Forrest Snow got the start, going seven innings seven innings and two runs on seven hits with six strikeouts.
From the report: INF Ketel Marte currently has a 5-game hit streak batting, .368 (7×19) with 4 runs scored, 2 home runs, 6 RBI and 1 walk…overall he has hits safely in 34 of 40 games this season with 16 multi-hit contest, batting .346 (55×159) with 24 runs scored, 8 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 19 RBI, 12 walks and 13 stolen bases…he is the only Rainiers player to appear in all 40 games this season.
• 1B/DH Jesus Montero has hit safely in 30 of 38 games with 15 multi-hit contests, batting .316 (48×152) with 19 runs, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 5 home runs, 25 RBI, 4 walks and 2 stolen bases.
• Since April 30, OF Stefen Romero has hit safely in 13 of his last 20 games, batting .311 (23×74) with 14 runs scored, 5 doubles, 1 triple, 6 home runs, 16 RBI, 7 walks and 2 stolen bases.
•RH Justin Germano is 3-1 with a 1.46 ERA (6 ER, 37.0 IP) in 10 G/4 GS…he has limited opponents to a .163 average (22×135) average, while walking 6 and striking out 28…since moving into the rotation on May 1, Germano is 2-0 with a 1.61 ERA (4 ER, 22.1 IP) in 4 GS.
• After allowing 3 runs over his first 2 appearances (3.0 IP), RH Mayckol Guaipe has allowed only 1 run over his last 13.0 innings (0-0, 0.69 ERA), including a 5.1 consecutive scoreless innings streak (5/8-current)…during this 11 game stretch he has limited opponents to a .204 average, while walking 2 and striking out 15.
Game notes: Offday
Class AA Jackson
The Generals were also shutout 3-0, managing just four hits. Starter Jake Zokan went 4 1/3 innings, giving up three runs (one earned) on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
Video of Gabby Guerrero’s single
From the report: OF Dario Pizzano has hit safely in 28 of 24 games with 13 multi-hit contest this season, batting .373 (44×118) with 12 runs scored, 7 doubles, 3 triples, 1 home run, 15 RBI, 9 walks and 2 stolen bases. o Pizzano went 0-for-3 in game 2 on May 17 vs. Tennessee, snapping his career-high hitting streak at 25 games. During the streak he hit .396 (40×101) with 11 runs scored, 5 doubles, 3 triples, 1 home run, 14 RBI, 5 walks and 2 stolen bases…his 25-game hitting streak is the minor leagues this season. o 25-game hit streak is the longest in his career, passing a career-high 19-game hitting streak with Clinton in 2013 (19 G, 8/7-25/13 w/Clinton). o Pizzano set a franchise record hitting in 25 straight games, breaking the prior mark of 20 games set by Jeff Frazier with the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx in 2007. • 3B Jordy Lara has hit safely in 7 of his last 9 games with 5 multi-hit contests, batting .400 (12×30) with 10 runs scored, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 2 home runs, 7 RBI and 5 walks.
• INF Jack Reinheimer is batting .329 (23×70) with 12 runs scored, 5 doubles, 1 home run, 6 RBI, 6 walks and 7 stolen bases in 17 games in May.
• Jabari Blash currently has a 7-game hitting streak, batting .480 (12×25) with 8 runs scored, 4 doubles, 2 home runs, 9 RBI, 4 walk and 2 hit by pitch. o Blash was named Southern League Player of the Week, May 11-17…he hit safely in 5 of 6 games during the week, batting .435 (10×23) with 6 runs scored, 3 doubles, 2 home runs, 9 RBI, 1 walk and 2 hit by pitches…he recorded his 10th multi-home run game, while also setting season-highs in hits and RBI on May 13 vs. Biloxi (4×5, 2 R, 2 HR, 7 RBI).
Game notes: N/A
Class A Bakersfield
After blowing a 6-0 first inning lead, the Blaze hung on for an 8-7 win over Stockton. Guillermo Pimentel went 2-for-5 with a two-run homer, Justin Seager went 3-for-4 with three RBI and Jay Baum drove in three runs.
From the report: INF Tim Lopes currently has a 9-game hitting streak, batting .333 (13×39) with 4 runs scored, 1 triple, 2 RBI, 2 walks and 2 stolen bases.
• INF Justin Seager is batting .556 (5×9) with 2 runs scored, 1 double, 1 triple and 3 RBI in last 2 games. • OF Ian Miller has hit safely in 7 of his last 9 games with 5 multi-hit contests, batting .310 (13×42) with 4 runs scored, 2 doubles, 1 triple, 3 RBI and 3 stolen bases…Miller currently lead the California League with 16 stolen bases.
• OF Tyler O’Neill has hit safely in 13 of 15 games in May, batting .267 (16×60) with 8 runs scored, 3 doubles, 6 home runs, 11 RBI, 5 walks and 2 stolen bases…he has also hit safely in 17 of his last 20 games, batting .275 (22×80) with 11 runs scored, 4 doubles, 8 home runs, 17 RBI, 5 walks and 3 stolen bases…O’Neill has recorded 17 of his 21 RBI this season during this 20-game stretch. o O’Neill leads all Mariners farmhands with 9 home runs, while ranking 3rd California League…he also ranks 4th in the league in HR per AB ratio (1/14.67).
Game notes: N/A
Class A Clinton
The LumberKings lost 8-5. Starter Pat Peterson pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing eight runs on 10 hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
From the report: OF Estarlyn Morales has hit safely in 9 of his last 11 games, batting .311 (14×45) with 4 runs scored, 3 doubles, 6 RBI and 2 stolen bases.
• INF Erick Mejia has hit safely in each of his last 4 games, batting .353 (6×17) with 4 runs scored, 1 triple and 3 RBI. • OF Aaron Barbosa has hit safely in 9 of his last 10 games, batting .268 (11×41) with 9 runs scored, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 5 walks and 3 stolen bases.
• 1B Kristian Brito has hit a safely in 9 of his last 10 games, batting .325 (13×40) with 6 runs scored, 2 doubles, 2 home runs, 9 RBI and 1 walk.
• RH Lukas Schiraldi set career-high in with 7.2 innings pitched (previous: 6.0-2x, last: 5/4/15 vs. Peoria) and strikeouts (6-3x, last: 4/29 vs. Wisconsin) in 9-0 win over Burlington on May 15.
• LH Nick Kiel is 0-1 with a 1.10 ERA (2 ER, 16.1 IP) in 11 relief appearances this season…he has limited opponents to a .207 (12×58) average, while walking 0 and striking out 11.
Game notes: N/A
Minor League Report