Mariners notebook: Seager named to first All-Star team

Staff writerJuly 7, 2014 

Kyle Seager was leaving Babies R Us on Monday with his son, Crue, in one arm and a large package of diapers in the other, when his manager called.

Down went the diapers.

Seattle Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon wanted to be the first to inform Seager he would be participating in his first All-Star game July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis. Toronto third baseman Edwin Encarnacion landed on the 15-day disabled list because of quad strain over the weekend, opening a spot for Seager.

“I was pretty excited,” Seager said of receiving the call. “It’s a dream come true. Everybody grows up ... you want to play in the big leagues, you want to be an All-Star. For that to happen is pretty special.”

Boston manager John Farrell selected Seager as the replacement, giving the Mariners three All-Stars. Seager joins second baseman Robinson Cano and starting pitcher Felix Hernandez as Seattle All-Stars.

Seager’s All-Star nod comes from another sturdy season at the plate and in the field. After a woeful April when he hit .225, Seager has been able to raise his average to .274 coming into Monday. He has 13 home runs and 59 RBIs, putting him on pace for career-highs in each category.

The last time the Mariners had three All-Stars in one season was 2011, when Hernandez was joined by rookie right-hander Michael Pineda and closer Brandon League. Neither Pineda or League are still with the organization.

The last time Seattle had two All-Star position players in the same season was 2006 when Jose Lopez and Ichiro received the honor.

Seager is just the third Mariners’ third baseman to be named an All-Star. Edgar Martinez was an All-Star in 1992 at the position, and Jim Presley made the team in 1986.

This is the fifth time Hernandez has been named to the team. It’s the sixth time for Cano, which leaves Seager a couple veterans to tag along with.

“I can basically be there like I am here: just kind of follow Cano around,” Seager said. “So, it will work out well.”

MORALES SAYS “LITTLE BIT” OF TALK WITH MARINERS

Out for early batting practice Monday with the Minnesota Twins, former Mariner Kendrys Morales joked around with some of the Seattle bullpen.

The Mariners tried three times to make Morales a member of this year’s team. Each time, it didn’t work.

Seattle first offered Morales a three-year, $30 million contract last September. When that was declined, they offered the 2014 league-wide one-year qualifying offer of $14.1 million, which would tie his free agency to draft pick compensation. Like each free agent made a qualifying offer last offseason, Morales turned it down.

Morales eventually signed a one-year, pro-rated $12 million contract with Minnesota on June 8, despite the Mariners coming back at him again.

“I knew it was going to be tough to look for another offer, or another job, but in my heart I just didn’t really want to come back here and be in the same spot ... I was taking his chances to see if something was better,” Morales said of hitting the open market through interpreter, and Twins bullpen coach, Bobby Cuellar.

When asked why he declined the three-year offer, Morales didn’t get specific.

“There really was a little bit of talk, but there wasn’t really any real discussion,” Morales said.

As for the Mariners’ final push to sign him, Morales said there was a snag.

“They were talking to me, but unfortunately my agent and whatever Seattle was talking about, there was some ... misunderstanding in the negotiation,” Morales said.

The switch-hitting Morales had a hot start for Minnesota, but came into Monday with a .216 batting average and one home run in 102 at-bats. He hit .277 with 23 home runs and 80 RBIs for the Mariners last season.

Seattle is still in search of a right-handed power bat.

Short hops

Hernandez has recorded 10 consecutive starts where he has pitched at least seven innings and allowed two or fewer runs. The streak is the second-longest by an American League pitcher dating back to 1974 when Gaylord Perry had an 11-start streak for the Indians. Left-handed start James Paxton (strained back muscle) will throw two innings in a simulated game Tuesday. ... The Mariners came into Monday 10-1 in Monday games. ...Mariners catcher John Buck turned 34 Monday.

Looking back

July 8, 1994: Alex Rodriguez made his Major League debut as the starting shortstop against Boston. Rodriguez was 18 years, 11 months and 11 days old at the time.

Later that night, the Mariners hit into the ninth unassisted triple play in Major League history. Shortstop John Valentin turned the play. The batter was Marc Newfield, the baserunners were Mike Blowers and Keith Mitchell.

On tap

The Mariners continue a seven-game homestand Tuesday with the second of four games against Minnesota at Safeco Field. The pre-break schedule concludes next weekend with three games against Oakland.

Right-hander Chris Young (8-4 with a 3.11 ERA) will face Minnesota righty Phil Hughes (8-5, 3.95) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday. Root Sports will carry the game.

todd.dybas@thenewstribune.com

blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks

@Todd_Dybas

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