SEATTLE — After going 0-for-27 his previous five games – with a pair of days on the bench to rest and refocus, as well – Nick Franklin decided to come out on Wednesday as a new person ready for a new start.
The Seattle rookie second baseman showed up at Safeco Field with a clean-shaven face. Gone was the facial hair that resembled Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of comic book superhero “The Wolverine.”
The fresh face, suddenly freed from perpetual stubble, was a reminder that Franklin is just 22 years old.
“Last night, I just randomly decided I’m going to be a new person today,” Franklin said.
That new person broke the old person’s hitless streak in the first inning.
With Brad Miller on first, Franklin tripled to right-center field off Toronto Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ to drive in the first run of the Mariners’ eventual 9-7 win.
“It was just nice to start off with a good first inning and get going,” Franklin said.
Franklin finished the day 1-for-4 with a walk, two runs scored and a strikeout to go with the RBI triple. He’s had bigger games, but he’ll take this one.
The previous five or six days had been a struggle for him. As a rookie, those stretches are expected, but never fun to endure.
“It’s just one of those things,” Franklin said. “You just continue to go through it. You can’t get really upset and just know that it’s going to happen and know eventually it work itself out.”
Franklin sat out Sunday in Baltimore and Monday in Seattle.
Did it help?
“The two days made me itch to get back at it, but those two days I got to do some more work and figure some things out,” Franklin said.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge made another appearance at Safeco Field.
He stopped and talked briefly with the media and then met with players.
He also met with Dr. Mitch Storey, who is helping coordinate his recovery with various specialists.
Wedge said he’s feeling much better following the mild stroke he suffered July 22, but he did not say when he might return.
Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (3-0, 4.58 ERA) will have his spot skipped in the rotation because of Thursday’s day off. Ramirez would have pitched Friday, but acting manager Robby Thompson wanted to keep the rest of the rotation on normal rest. … Justin Smoak extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games with his two-run double in the sixth. Since July 30, he’s hitting .400 (12-for-30) with three doubles, two homers, five RBI and four walks. … Mariners pitchers walked a season-high nine batters. … Newly appointed closer Danny Farquhar had his streak of consecutive batters retired snapped at 21 when Toronto catcher Josh Thole singled with two outs in the ninth.
The Mariners have the day off Thursday. They will return to action on Friday when they play host to the Milwaukee Brewers to start a three-game interleague series.