The team was diverted to San Antonio and did not arrive in the Dallas-Fort Worth area until 3 a.m.
ARLINGTON, Texas — It wasn’t a fun Sunday for the Mariners. First, they lost in extra innings to the Twins at Safeco Field, finishing the homestand with a disappointing 4-5 record. Things didn’t get much better for them when they left Seattle. Because of severe thunderstorms, high winds and tornado warnings in the Dallas area, the team flight had more ups and downs than a Fernando Rodney save situation.
The Mariners attempted to fly into Dallas when the storm was really going full strength. It didn’t happen. Their team flight was diverted to San Antonio after trying to land at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport at about midnight. The team sat on the tarmac in San Antonio for about two hours before flying into DFW around 3 a.m. The landing at DFW featured the chartered jet rocking back and forth on its descent.
“It was the worst flight of my life,” said Robinson Cano.
Some players weren’t quite as dramatic.
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“There’s nothing you can do about it so you might as well relax,” said Logan Morrison. “I was watching a movie and laughing at (Kyle) Seager. He was sweating through his shirt. He dry-heaved a little.”
Seager was not pleased about his fear being tattled on to the media. He said there were no dry heaves. So how was his experience?
“I didn’t particularly enjoy it,” he said. “I don’t mind flying. It’s not necessarily a joy of mine. It doesn’t bother me. But when it’s shaking like that, I’m not a big fan of that at all.”
Manager Lloyd McClendon had no issues with the flight.
“I don’t know what all the commotion is about,” McClendon said. “Hell, I was asleep the whole time. I woke and they said we landed. Any flight that you can talk about is a good flight.”
The Mariners arrived at their hotel around 3:30 a.m. With most players not getting to sleep till 4 or 5 a.m., McClendon scheduled a later arrival for players and canceled on-field batting practice.
The Rangers had similar problems getting out of Los Angeles. They were re-routed to Austin with much of the other commercial traffic headed into DFW. They landed back home around 4:30 a.m.
Cruz and Hamilton back in Texas
Even with the late arrival, Nelson Cruz was happy to stay at his home in Arlington, not far from Globe Life Park. He played eight seasons with the Rangers. His first return to Texas came last season with the Orioles.
“This place is still special,” he said. “Last year was a bigger deal than this year. I think it’s something you get used to. Last year was more of a shock.”
His return was also overshadowed by the fact that Josh Hamilton was also back at the stadium. The Rangers held a news conference to announce the much-rumored trade with the Angels that brought Hamilton back to Texas had been finalized.
“Hopefully, it works out for him,” Cruz said. “I know he has good memories of being here when he was with the Rangers. Hopefully, he can be the player he once was.”
Cruz received a warm ovation from Rangers fans upon his return last season. He went 1 for 5 with a homer the game. . Will it continue?
“Well, it was good till I hit that homer,” he said. “I’m with their rival now.”
Lineups and more lineups
Justin Ruggiano became the fifth player to bat leadoff for the Mariners this season. It was the 16th different lineup that McClendon has used this season. McClendon wanted to give Austin Jackson a day off, something he has planned to do.
Dustin Ackley and Morrison were both given days off, despite a right-hander — Yovanni Gallardo — starting on the mound.
“(Jackson) needs a day, and quite honestly, I think Morrison needs a day, so they are both getting days and I don’t think it will hurt to give Ackley (a day off) as well,” McClendon said. “There’s a combination of things going on here. Obviously, get these guys a mental break with the rough starts. And we get our right-handers three days in a row so we can get them going. It’s not fair to ask them pinch hit and get big hits when they haven’t played much. This sharpens them up as well.”
Ackley is hitting .200 with a .245 on-base percentage. He’s has four hits in his last 34 at-bats — all singles and one walk. Bad luck or not, Morrison is still hitting .159 with a .206 on-base percentage and a .209 slugging percentage. He has one extra base hit — a homer. He’s has one hit in his last 19 at-bats — the homer.
The three days in a row is in reference to the Rangers’ upcoming starters — lefties Ross Detwiler and the recently acquired Wandy Rodriguez.
• For the first two series of this trip, the Mariners have switched up their broadcast. Aaron Goldsmith will handle the TV duties on Root Sports with Mike Blowers. Meanwhile, Dave Sims will join Rick Rizzs on the radio broadcast.
This isn’t a new development. The two play-by-play men did the same switch a couple of times last season. Also, Goldsmith handles the television duties when Sims takes a few days off during the season.