As expected, shortstop Jean Segura returned Tuesday from the disabled list and reclaimed his role atop the Mariners’ lineup for their series opener against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park.
The Mariners previously cleared roster space for Segura by optioning utility infielder Mike Freeman to Triple-A Tacoma after Sunday’s 11-1 victory at Oakland.
Segura was batting .313 with 10 hits in 32 at-bats through eight games when he suffered a strained right hamstring April 10 against Houston at Safeco Field. He was 1-for-11 in three rehab games last weekend at Double-A Arkansas.
"Numbers over there don’t count," Segura said. "I felt good. I felt I was swinging well. I had a couple of line drives right at people. I could feel my timing coming back. I’m ready to go."
Although Segura insisted he is 100 percent — "If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here." — he then admitted that he won’t push the envelope right away.
"This is my first game coming back from a hamstring injury," he said. "As a player, you have to be smart. I’ll try to be smart running the bases, but that’s tough to do. As a player, you don’t want to hesitate.
"I’m going to keep that mentality for the first four or five games until I get that confidence back. I’m not going to try to run 110 percent, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to jog down the line or jog around the bases."
SEAGER SITS AGAIN
Third baseman Kyle Seager continues to nurse a sore right hip, which kept him on the bench for a third straight start. Taylor Motter started Tuesday in Seager’s place.
"He would like to play through it," manager Scott Servais said, "but I’m trying to take the decision away from him. We have a lot of games left, and I would hate to lose him for a significant amount of time."
Seager flashed as "thumbs up" when asked how he felt.
Then how come you’re not in the lineup?
"Maybe it’s a benching."
You had a triple Saturday as a pinch-hitter in your last at-bat. Power and speed.
"It’s a good team."
Servais admitted it was an easier decision because of Motter’s steady production as Segura’s replacement at shortstop. Motter was 13-for-45 (.289) in 12 starts at shortstop with six doubles, five homers and 12 RBIs.
"Like I said last week," Servais said, "we’ll find a way to keep (Motter) in the lineup. The versatility that he’s got is really a plus. He almost turns into a Ben Zobrist-type player.
"You can put him at all different spots in the field, and he still gives you good at-bats."
NO RUSH ON CISHEK
Don’t look for the Mariners to activate reliever Steve Cishek from the disabled list until he displays improved form while on a minor-league rehab assignment in his recovery from October surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip.
Cishek allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings over his first three rehab outings at Arkansas and Triple-A Tacoma.
"He threw again the other day," Servais said. "It wasn’t great. I’d like him to iron our some of the mechanical stuff. He’s going through spring training. It just happens to be in late April."
Pitchers can remain on a rehab assignment for 30 days. Cishek’s clock began April 17 when assigned to Arkansas.
"When he comes up," Servais said, "we need him to be good right away. I’d like to use him in the higher-leverage situations right away. I want to make sure he’s in a good spot before we do that."
MORE REHAB UPDATES
Neither utilityman Shawn O’Malley nor reliever Shae Simmons are close to returning to active duty, according to general manager Jerry Dipoto.
Simmons, 26, is recovering from a strained right shoulder that surfaced March 11 against Cincinnati. O’Malley, 29, underwent an appendectomy on March 21.
"Both continue in rehab," Dipoto said. "Shae is in the midst of a throwing program and is assessed daily. Shawn is experiencing right shoulder issues in addition to his recovery from the appendectomy."
Three things to note heading into Wednesday’s pitching matchup between left-handers James Paxton and Detroit’s Daniel Norris:
***Paxton is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three career starts against the Tigers, and all three of those starts have been at Comerica Park. Norris is 0-0 with a 4.05 ERA in three career starts against the Mariners.
***Victor Martinez is 2-for-8 with two walks in his career against Paxton, while Ian Kinsler is 2-for-7 with two RBIs. Justin Upton is 1-for-6 with three strikeouts.
***Nelson Cruz is 3-for-4 with a triple and a homer in his career against Norris. Robinson Cano is 3-for-8, but Kyle Seager is hitless in five at-bats. Guillermo Heredia has two hits in three at-bats.
Triple-A Tacoma outfielder Ben Gamel went 1-for-2 with a walk Monday in a 12-8 loss at Albuquerque (Rockies) and has reached base safety in 16 straight games. Gamel is batting .294 in that span with a .439 on-base percentage.
Nelson Cruz hit his first road homer of the season Sunday in Oakland. He hit at least 25 road homers in 2014-15-16 and is one of only three players in MLB history to hit 25 or more road homers in three straight years. The others are Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. It has never been done four years in a row…the Mariners’ bullpen entered the series with a streak of 11 1/3 scoreless innings since Dan Altavilla got roughed up for three runs in the seventh inning on April 20 at Oakland…
It was 27 years ago Wednesday — April 26, 1990 — that Ken Griffey Jr. made what might be the best catch of his career (yes, it’s a debatable point) when he took a home run away from Jesse Barfield at Yankee Stadium.
This much is certain: The catch is must-see stuff on any Griffey highlight tape.
It came with two outs in the fifth inning. The Mariners were leading 5-1 behind Randy Johnson when Barfield sent a drive to deep left-center field. Griffey raced back, made the catch and flashed that trademark smile.
The Mariners went on to a 6-2 victory. Griffey also went 2-for-4.
The Mariners and Tigers continue their three-game series at 4:10 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday at Comerica Park when lefty James Paxton (2-0 with a 1.78 ERA) opposes Detroit lefty Daniel Norris (1-1, 3.71).
The game can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and the Mariners Radio Network, including mariners.com (for subscribers to MLB.tv).
The series concludes at 10:10 a.m. Pacific time Thursday. The Mariners then head to Cleveland for a three-game weekend series.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners