August 4, 2013 at 9:40 AM
Nick Franklin sits, Dustin Ackley continues to and could be AAA-bound
Nick Franklin got a day off today after seeing his slump climb to 0-for-24 last night and then hesitating on the bases when he did get on, causing a logjam and bizarre double play after Raul Ibanez had driven a ball off the right field wall.
Interim Mariners manager Robby Thompson said Franklin needs a mental break more than anything else. So, he’s getting one. The Mariners are about to face three right-handed starters in a row and Franklin will be in for those games.
Things aren’t so simple when it comes to Dustin Ackley, who is out today and will have sat this entire series. When the Mariners did not deal anyone at the trade deadline, it created a cluster of four starting outfielders and only three available spots.
And with Michael Morse and Michael Saunders heating up and Ibanez having the season he’s had, there just isn’t room for Ackley right now.
“Right now, it’s kind of like Ack is the odd man out,” Thompson said.
Ibanez has slumped since the All-Star break, hitting .151 with a .426 OPS. But he did drive a ball off the right field wall last night that should have been a run-scoring double if not for Franklin’s bad baserunning.
Thompson said he thought about resting Ibanez today, especially with left-hander Wei-Yen Chen on the mound. But he likes what Ibanez and Saunders have both done against left-handers at times this year and wants to see whether they can both continue what they did last night.
In Ibanez’s case, the team hopes he can pull out of this slump.
With Ackley, though, you have to start wondering whether he is going to be Class AAA-bound shortly.
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik seemed to suggest it’s still a possibility this morning.
Zduriencik said he’ll discuss Ackley’s situation with Thompson on the team’s charter flight back to Seattle after today’s game.
“I think what you do is, you just go day-to-day and see what happens,” Zduriencik said. “When a player has a (minor league) option, those are things you need to consider, you need to think about. But right now, we’ll just let it play out. Sometimes, offensively, you play the hot hand. When a guy is going good, you let him play.”
Zduriencik added that it’s a positive that Morse and Saunders are hitting so well and that Ibanez had such a great first half.
Don’t forget, the team also has Franklin Gutierrez eligible to come off his injury rehab stint in another week or so. Zduriencik was non-commital about that this morning when I asked him what the team plans to do about him.
On the positive side, Zduriencik said, Gutierrez has gone through five consecutive days with no physical ailments of any kind and is playing well. But given his history, the team isn’t counting on anything yet until the rehab stint is up.