First baseman Logan Morrison and his 11-game hitting streak returned to the Seattle Mariners’ lineup Friday — the top of the lineup, in fact — after getting scratched Thursday because of back pain.
“It just tightened up on me,” he said. “Got stiff. I’m not sure why. I was just swinging in the cage, and I felt some pain in lower back. I tried to get it loosened up, but it just wasn’t loosening up.
“They gave me some medicine and some patches to put on it. Everything feels good.”
Morrison entered Friday on a 14 for 42 run (.333) over his previous 11 games, which boosted his average from .219 to .245. He replaced center fielder Austin Jackson as the leadoff hitter.
Jackson wasn’t in the lineup for the first time since returning May 26 from a 19-game absence due to a sprained right ankle.
“He’s been going at it pretty good,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I figured it’s just a good time to give him a day. (Jackson’s ankle) is a little stiff before he gets it going. But once he gets it going, he’s OK.
“We’ve got to be careful with him.”
Jackson is batting .311 with a .340 on-base percentage in 10 games since he returned. His season totals are up to .264 and .309. Further, he doesn’t appeared to be limited by his ankle.
“It’s holding up pretty good,” he said. “Everything has been feeling good with it. I’ve been staying on my routine with it every day. I think that helps a lot with getting it loose.
“I haven’t had any setbacks or any problems with it.”
WHO’S ON FIRST?
Mark Trumbo has spent more time at first base than any other position in his six-year career, but he had played there only once this season before drawing an emergency start Thursday as a replacement for Morrison.
“Over there (in Arizona),” Trumbo said, “they wanted me to focus on right field. They had a few other guys they could mix in over (at first). I’ll have to get a little more reacclimated.”
Trumbo said it came back quickly.
“No problem,” he said. “I played over there for eight or nine years.”
Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma reported no day-after problems following a bullpen workout Thursday that marked his first time on a mound since his April 20 start against Houston.
Iwakuma suffered a strained back muscle in his day-after throwing session following that start. Specifically, he has a strained right latissimus dorsi muscle.
Plans call for Iwakuma to throw another bullpen session before Sunday’s series finale against Tampa Bay. He will then remain in Seattle to continue his recovery when the club departs on an eight-game trip.
Iwakuma is tentatively scheduled for a third bullpen workout next Wednesday before, barring setbacks, pitching a simulated game. McClendon said the simulated game could take place in Tacoma or at Safeco Field.
Club officials will then determined whether Iwakuma requires a second simulated game before going on a minor league rehab assignment. He is expected to make at least two rehab starts before rejoining the rotation.
SEAGER ON THE RISE
Hidden in the Mariners’ ongoing run-production problems, Kyle Seager is surging at the plate — entering the weekend with a .342 average over the last 21 games.
Seager is 27 for 79 in that span, which raised his average from .238 to .279. He also has five homers and 21 RBIs, which boosts his season totals to nine and 29.
That puts him on pace to finish with 27 homers and 87 RBIs.
Entering Friday, there were 13 American League relievers who had appeared in 10 games and logged an ERA of 1.29 or lower.
The Mariners had three of them:
It was 36 years ago Saturday — June 6, 1979 — that Willie Horton hit his 300th career homer in a 4-3 victory over Detroit at the Kingdome.
At the time, Horton became the 43rd player in history to reach that milestone when he launched a two-run shot in the first inning against Jack Morris.
Mariners starter Floyd Bannister gave up three runs in the first inning on a homer by Rusty Staub. But Bannister, Shane Rawley and Byron McLaughlin blanked the Tigers thereafter.
Larry Cox’s sacrifice fly in the sixth provided the winning run. Mario Mendoza went 0 for 3, which dropped his average to .183 — 17 points below the Mendoza Line.
The Mariners and Rays continue their four-game series at 7:10 p.m. Saturday at Safeco Field. Right-hander Felix Hernandez (8-2, 2.63 ERA) will face Tampa Bay right-hander Alex Colome (3-2, 5.05). The game will be broadcast on Root Sports and 710-AM.