Leon Landry has hits in 10 of the last 11 games he’s played. He’s batting .341 with three home runs and nine RBI in 14 games since joining the Tacoma Rainiers on May 11, a promising start to his first career stint in Triple-A.
And every day, he tries to drink about a gallon of water. That’s a necessity, he says, since team doctors discovered increased creatine kinase (CK) levels in his blood during spring training, which triggered a lengthy rehabilitation process to stifle the illness and work his way back into playing condition.
The symptoms manifested in obvious ways, and it’s something to which Landry now pays close attention.
“It was total dehydration,” Landry said. “It was just one of those things where they checked my blood — something in the blood they usually don’t check for when we have to do blood work and everything. They found high levels — something called CK levels — and it ended up being significantly high. They tried to get it back down to normal and eventually it always does, and whenever it kind of spikes up like that, they want to make sure they keep an eye on it.”
He says he feels much better now than he did during the season’s first couple months, when he bounced from extended spring training in Arizona to Double-A Jackson and back to Arizona.
Then, a breakthrough: Landry joined the Rainiers in Fresno nearly three weeks ago, and thus far has wielded a dependable bat and impressive glove. The 25-year-old from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, homered twice in Tacoma’s 7-3 victory over the Round Rock Express on Saturday at Cheney Stadium, and he also went completely horizontal to make a diving catch in right field in the top of the fourth inning.
Mariners fans might remember him as one of the two prospects the club acquired — reliever Logan Bawcom was the other — when it dealt closer Brandon League to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2012 trade deadline.
Landry, whom the Dodgers drafted out of LSU as a third-round pick in 2010, spent the last two seasons at Double-A Jackson, and batted .280 last year with 25 stolen bases in 108 games.
He describes himself as “a speed guy,” and noted with a laugh that his two-homer day against Round Rock was “a rarity for me.”
Both homers were to right field. The first was a three-run shot that put Tacoma ahead 4-0 during a third inning in which the Rainiers sent 11 batters to the plate. Landry’s second homer led off the seventh inning.
He attributes his immediate success in Tacoma to “just trusting my instincts and trusting what my eyes see, and letting my hands work. That’s pretty much what I’ve been doing since I’ve been here, since I’ve been able to get back this season and play, and it’s been working for me so far.”
“When he’s healthy, he’s the whole package for you,” Rainiers hitting coach Cory Snyder said, “He can run, he can throw, he can do a lot of good things for you.”
Rainiers starter Forrest Snow (2-4, 2.79 ERA) pitched six innings to earn the win for Tacoma on Saturday, allowing just one run on seven hits.
Tacoma’s four-game series against Round Rock continues with a 1:35 p.m. game Sunday at Cheney Stadium. Left-hander James Gillheeney (0-0, ---) is scheduled to pitch for the Rainiers against Express right-hander Ross Wolf (5-3, 6.75). The game can be heard on 850-AM.