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April 14, 2014 at 1:15 PM

Monday’s pregame notes, line-ups vs. the Rangers

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Update 4:46 p.m. 

Manager Lloyd McClendon said they moved Justin Smoak lower in the order to try something different.

“Just tinkering a little bit,” McClendon said.

The original plan was to have Corey Hart hit behind Robinson Cano when they signed him to a free agent deal in the offseason. Injuries have slowed Hart this season, but McClendon feels Hart is able to be that presence behind Cano.

“I think he’s probably there now,” he said.

But is Hart to the point where he can play in the field?

“I’m not so sure about that one,” McClendon said. “We’ll see. We are trying to work it. I worry about the starting and stopping and cutting out there. I don’t think we are anywhere close right now.”

McClendon was asked about Kyle Seager, who is hitting .121 (4-for-33) this season. McClendon made it clear this past weekend that he wasn’t concerned. But he did talk to Seager this afternoon.

“I told him the biggest thing he needs to do is get the hell out of the way of his talent,” McClendon said. “And let his talent take over. Sometimes we can out-think ourselves a little bit. He has a nice track record. I think we all would agree that he’s going to hit and he’s going to produce. The sooner, the better. Like I told him, the sooner you get out of the way of yourself and let your talents take over, it will take over.”

It was mentioned that Seager struggled the last few months of the season. McClendon shrugged it off.

“I think one of things the book will tell you is that he probably played too much,” he said. “One hundred sixty games, I thought was probably a little too much for him. We are going to try it get down 150. If we can get it down there, I think you’ll see a much more productive player.”

Seager wasn’t too concerned about the low batting average. Obviously he’d like to be hitting, but knows it’s fixable. He also knows why there is concern.

“It’s a lot more blown out because it’s the beginning,” he said. “It’s a lot more visual than if you had 400 at-bats. Your average wouldn’t vary as much.”

He said he doesn’t feel like he is out of sorts at the plate.

“I actually feel pretty good,” he said. “I’ve been a little off on a couple pitches, but I’m actually seeing the ball pretty well. I think it will turn around pretty quickly.”

Admittedly, his swing hasn’t been perfect to start the season.

“I got out of my swing a little bit,” he said. “I was over-striding a little and lost my angle a little bit there. I feel better now. I’m seeing the ball now.”

Seager’s swing is simple, compact and without a lot of moving parts. So he can tell when something’s wrong.

“I can feel it,” he said. “You can take bad swings and get hits. That wasn’t necessarily the case. I felt I was getting a little longer and it was getting a little bigger than I wanted it to be.”

When asked about last seasons struggles in August and September, Seager said there was no correlation to the early struggles of this year.

“It’s a little different mechanical swing, especially in that last month I was doing something different,” he said. “So I don’t think there’s a connection to last year.”

Also …

Hisashi Iwakuma will throw a bullpen session tomorrow. If all goes well, he will throw a simulated game of 45 pitches on Saturday in Miami. And if all goes well in that, he will head out on a rehab assignment, likely with Triple A Tacoma.

Tom Wilhelmsen was battling back stiffness this past weekend which is why he didn’t pitch. Manager Lloyd McClendon said he didn’t tell the media because he didn’t want the A’s to know he was unavailable.

From earlier

No real surprises in the Mariners’ line-up with right-hander Colby Lewis on the mound for the Rangers. You’ll notice Adrian Beltre isn’t in the line-up for the Ranger. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list yesterday with a strained quad. So the series will be a little less entertaining without him on the field. Or maybe not, the Rangers have added the recently acquired Hector Noesi to their active roster. So there is a chance the Mariners might get to face Noesi, which could be very beneficial for their offense.

The Mariners will be facing Colby Lewis, who hasn’t started a game in 21 months. Lewis had elbow and hip surgeries that shut him down.

The park here in Arlington is officially called Globe Like Park. It’s normally a hitter’s paradise. But it’s cold and windy and temps are only supposed to get to mid 50s. The wind appears to be blowing out to right, but you really never know in this place. Temperatures are expected to remain cooler for most of the series. So the park may play a little more like Safeco.

A quick broadcast note. Television play-by-play man Dave Sims has this series off. So Rick Rizzs and Mike Blowers will handle the TV broadcast, while Aaron Goldsmith and former Mariners utility player Mark McLemore will handle the radio duties for Monday and Tuesday. Goldsmith and Rizzs will switch spots for the final two games.




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