Mark Trumbo knows he’s been pressing since being acquired by 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 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.
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That knocked him out of the starting lineup for three games.
Trumbo returned to the lineup Wednesday and, entering Saturday, had hits in three consecutive games. All singles, 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.”
The Mariners are hoping to see the Trumbo who averaged 32 home runs per year from 2011-13 with the Los Angeles Angels.
Trumbo, 29, hit 14 last season when a foot injury limited him to 88 games with Arizona, and he had nine in 46 games this season before 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 Seattle’s 5-2 victory over Houston.
“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 32/3 innings Saturday in a rehab start for Single-A Everett against Eugene (Cubs).
Iwakuma threw 56 pitches in his first game action since April 20. He suffered a strained back muscle April 21 during a throwing workout.
Iwakuma, 34, was 0-1 with a 6.61 ERA this season in three starts for Seattle 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 with relievers Mark Lowe and Carson Smith to record 13 strikeouts without allowing a walk in the Mariners’ 5-2 victory Friday.
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.
The franchise’s best K/BB ratio was a 19-strikeout, no-walk performance by Randy Johnson on June 24, 1997, against Oakland at the Kingdome. The Mariners lost that game, 4-1.
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 Saturday night for just the third time since May 24. … Robinson Cano’s leadoff double in the seventh inning Friday 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 and Astros complete their three-game series at 1:10 p.m. Sunday at Safeco Field. Left-hander J.A. Happ (3-3, 3.79 ERA) will face Houston right-hander Vince Velasquez (0-0, 4.66).