PEORIA, Ariz. – Kyle Seager was never insecure about his swing, although he said he changed the kind of bat he used last season four times.
Still, the Seattle Mariners made it clear at the end of 2011 that they’d like more power – extra-base hits if not home runs – from their third baseman in 2012.
Seager listened, then spent the winter working on his swing and his body. He has come in stronger this spring – and has made a minor alteration on his swing.
“I got stronger to help me stay strong all season, not to hit the ball harder,” Seager said. “I made a little adjustment at the plate, and I think that allows me to hit the ball harder. Last year, I was hitting the ball too far out front, and that didn’t allow me to use my body.
“I have a little tuck in my front shoulder now, that helps me get to the pitch more where I want to hit it. I like my swing path, I like the kind of hitter I am.
“I’m not a power hitter, but I’m seeing balls that carry on the line more. That’s exciting.”
Seager said he thought he was driving the ball better, but until he got to Arizona, he couldn’t be certain.
“I hit a lot this offseason, but never outside. Hitting a ball in the indoor cage, all I got was the feel or sound of it,” Seager said. “Now I’m hitting out on the fields again, and I can see a little difference.”
SHOW AND TELL
After each bullpen session, the pitcher and catcher meet for a few moments between the mound and plate for a quick conversation.
John Jaso, however, said something to left-hander Lucas Luetge that provoked an unprecedented response: Luetge walking behind home plate and hunkering down as if he were the catcher.
What was that about?
“I was throwing him back-door sliders and afterward he asked me where I liked my catcher to set up for that pitch,” rookie Luetge said. “It was easier to show him than tell him.”
Veteran Jaso enjoyed the exchange.
“It’s best to be proactive,” he said. “It’s not good if the pitcher is frustrated on the mound and the catcher has no idea why.”
QUOTE OF THE DAY
The News Tribune’s Mariners Insider blog has been running video of various Seattle pitchers talking about a particular pitch – Chance Ruffin on the slider, Steve Delabar on the split-fingered fastball, Dan Hultzen on the curve.
So Thursday, looking for someone who might know how to throw a spitball, the odds-on favorite was veteran Kevin Millwood.
Asked, Millwood laughed.
“Hey, I’ve gotten old legally,” he said.
Position players report for physicals today, then the full team will work out for the first time Saturday. Among those coming in Thursday were outfielders Darren Ford, and Johermyn Chavez and third baseman Franciso Martinez. … Along with workouts that begin at 9:30 a.m. and running until about noon each day, Mariners pitchers have an 8 a.m. conditioning run each day. That’s at 7 a.m. (PST) and not everyone looks completely awake heading out. … With few days off scheduled the rest of spring, a few position players who’d been working out with the team – Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak and Mike Carp – took Thursday off before mandatory reporting day. … Team president Howard Lincoln arrived in camp and watched the workout.