Finally, on Sunday, he rested.
Seattle Mariners center fielder Abraham Almonte had gone 23 games, 98 at-bats and numerous outfield adventures without a break. He sat down and took a breath Sunday.
April has been a struggle for the young leadoff hitter. He’s hitting just .204 and striking out with high frequency. Almonte’s 36 strikeouts came into Sunday tied for the Major League Baseball lead (Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte started the day with 36, too).
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“Not good,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said of Almonte’s first month. “But, he’s in a boat with a lot of other guys. Because he’s in the leadoff spot, everybody wants to make a big deal about Almonte. We’ve got a lot of guys not hitting. We’ve got guys that should be hitting and have had time in the big leagues, not hitting. So, I don’t want to put everything on this guy’s shoulders and say our offensive woes are because of Almonte. That’s just not the case.”
Almonte, 24, hit .264 last September after he was called up for the first time in his life. He picked up a hit in five of his first six games this season, but has plummeted since. The most troubling aspect for the speedy Almonte is his inability to put the ball in play.
Like McClendon, Almonte expects he will snap out his funk.
“What I feel right now, it’s one of those tough times I have to fight through in the season,” Almonte said. “If I stay patient, I think I can do a good approach. I’ve been doing that before.”
Also, as McClendon alluded to, Almonte is not the only one struggling. Shortstop Brad Miller -- like Almonte called up last season then put at the top of the lineup this season -- had the day off Sunday, too. He’s hitting .174 and has 26 strikeouts. He’s walked just twice.
“If we’re going to analyze this and speak truthful about it, then let’s analyze it and speak truthful about it,” McClendon said. “We’ve got a lot of guys not doing the job.
“The fact is, we are what we are and we have what we have. We have to make them better. We can talk about all the stats, we could put spin on stats, all of it’s (bad word). It’s all about winning the game. If you win the game, everything’s fine.”
Almonte was acquired from the New York Yankees in a straight-up trade for reliever Shawn Kelley in February of 2013. He’s hoping to get it going against the team he originally signed with when the Mariners head to New York to start a three-game series in the Bronx on Tuesday.
“Maybe three hits?” Almonte said with a smile.