SEATTLE — Mark Trumbo knows he’s been pressing since joining the Seattle Mariners on June 3 in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Knowing it and stopping it are two different things.
“The first week was pretty rough,” he said. “I’ve played long enough to recognize the signs that it’s happening, but that doesn’t make it any easier to make the adjustments.”
Trumbo had a pair of singles in his first game as a Mariner but then plummeted into a 2-for-28 skid over the next seven games. Then just when he seemed to find his timing, back spasms surfaced in batting practice.
That knocked him out of the starting lineup for three games.
Trumbo returned to the lineup Wednesday and, entering Saturday, had hits in three straight games. All singles, still. He’s yet to flash the power his career resume displays.
But it’s a start.
“This guy has big-time power,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We haven’t seen it yet, but we will. And when he hits them, they’ll come in bunches.”
Maybe that's about to happen. Trumbo hit his first homer as a Mariner (VIDEO LINK) in Saturday's 6-3 victory over Houston. It was a missile to center field and offered a glimpse of the guy who averaged 32 homers over a three-year span from 2011-13 with the Los Angeles Angels.
Trumbo, 29, hit 14 last season at Arizona when a foot injury limited him to 88 games, and he had nine this year for Arizona in 46 games prior to the trade.
“For me,” he said, “things just kind of happen when they happen. It’s not something you can just change overnight.”
Friday was a step in the right direction. After getting just one RBI in his first 12 games with the Mariners, Trumbo drove in three runs in a 5-2 victory over Houston at Safeco Field.
“It feels good, especially, to contribute in a win,” he admitted. “Maybe those weren’t the prettiest ways to get it done (in reference to two RBI grounders), but they’re every bit as effective at times.”
And now, maybe, Trumbo can relax a little.
“It’s probably all of the emotions of trying to get adjusted as quick as possible,” he said. “The last time I got traded was in the offseason, so I had a whole spring training to make friends. This is a new experience.”
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma gave up one run and three hits over 3 2/3 innings Saturday night in a rehab start for Short-A Everett against Eugene (Cubs).
Iwakuma threw 56 pitches in his first game action since April 20. He suffered a strained back muscle — specifically, a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle, on April 21 in a day-after throwing workout.
Iwakuma, 34, was 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA this season in three starts after going a combined 38-20 with a 3.07 ERA over the previous three seasons.
Barring any setbacks, Iwakuma’s rehab is expected to shift to Triple-A Tacoma for a Thursday start against Reno (Diamondbacks) at Cheney Stadium.
Roenis Elias combined Friday with relievers Mark Lowe and Carson Smith to record 13 strikeouts without allowing a walk in the Mariners’ 5-2 victory over Houston in the series opener.
That was only the seventh time in the club’s 39-year history that Mariners pitchers had or combined for at least 13 strikeouts without allowing a walk.
Usually, that’s a good thing.
But franchise’s best K/BB ratio was a 19-strikeout, 0-walk performance on June 24, 1997 in a complete game by Randy Johnson against Oakland at the Kingdome.
The Mariners lost 4-1…
But they won the other six games in which their pitchers had or combined for at least 13 strikeouts without allowing a walk.
It was 13 years ago Sunday — June 21, 2002 — that the Mariners played the Astros, then a National League club, for the first time.
Jamie Moyer and John Halama combined on a four-hit shutout in an 8-0 victory at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Ruben Sierra and Dan Wilson hit homers.
The Astros shifted to the American League West in 2013 and, through Friday, held a 32-26 lead in the all-time series.
In Houston’s Dallas Keuchel, the Mariners faced a left-handed starter for only the third time since May 24…Robinson Cano’s leadoff double in the seventh inning Friday night was the 1,900th hit of his career. That ranks 13th among active players. The active leader is Alex Rodriguez, who had 3,000 through Friday…The Mariners, prior to Saturday, were 15-12 in one-run games but just 5-11 in two-run games.
The Mariners and Astros complete their three-game weekend series at 1:10 p.m. Sunday at Safeco Field. Left-hander J.A. Happ (3-3, 3.79) will face Houston right-hander Vince Velasquez (0-0, 4.66).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM.
The Mariners conclude their eight-game homestand with a three-game series against Kansas City, which runs Monday through Wednesday.