Todd Takayoshi, a hitting coach in the Cincinnati Reds organization, told Rainiers manager Pat Listach he’d love Seth Mejias-Brean.
Great kid with a solid glove. But, the one caveat, Mejias-Brean had a tendency of hitting line drives — right at players.
Listach told his friend he thought it was time for Mejias-Brean’s luck to change. Turns out, it has.
“He’s done a really good job,” Listach said. “He’s stepped right in and he’s ready to go. He’s putting the bat on the ball, hitting line drive after line drive and getting on base.”
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Mejias-Brean was traded from Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday. He was in the lineup for the Bats that day, but was told he was traded before the game.
“It was kind of mixed feelings at first,” Mejias-Brean said. “I didn’t really know how to take it. … It’s a fresh start. That’s what I’m looking at it as.”
Since joining the Rainiers, Mejias-Brean is sporting a .450 batting average, and has recorded multiple hits in four of the five games he’s played.
He was hitting .262 for the Bats, and has been in the .200-range his past four seasons in Cincinnati’s organization.
“I’ve had ups and downs the last couple of years,” Mejias-Brean said. “I’ve kind of struggled. I’m trying to find that back again.”
Tacoma’s been a nice change of pace, he said.
“I think it’s just a change in atmosphere,” Mejias-Brean said. “I’m a little bit more relaxed over here. … I’m just going out there every day and competing.”
Listach said the third baseman has been a good addition, hitting safely in each game he’s played with the Rainiers.
Even the at-bats Mejias-Brean doesn’t get a hit, he’s putting together quality at-bats, Listach said. He’s working deep into counts, and he’s not a one-pitch out.
“From what I’ve seen over the last five days, he comes prepared, he’s ready to work and he’s ready to play,” Listach said.
“He’s not going to let anything slip by him. If we can pick up anything on the other pitcher, he’s on top of it. He’s having really good at-bats.”
Mejias-Brean was drafted by the Reds organization in the eighth round in 2012 after a productive career at Arizona. He was named all-Pac-12 in 2012.
ZUNINO HEADED SOUTH
Mike Zunino is expected to return to Cheney Stadium on Monday, but Listach said he is unlikely to appear in the lineup.
“He’s had a few days off,” Listach said. “I’ll probably give him a day or two to come in and take batting practice before I throw him in the lineup.”
Zunino was optioned to the Rainiers on Friday because of ongoing batting woes. He left Seattle with a .167 average in 24 games, and 30 strikeouts.
Listach said he hasn’t yet received specific instructions from the Mariners on Zunino, but the focus will be on his bat.
“He’s familiar with how we do things here,” Listach said. “He’s familiar with our hitters and opposition. It won’t take him long to readjust.”
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
The Rainiers are midway through a four-game series with Triple-A New Orleans, which rebranded in November to become the Baby Cakes.
The club was formerly called the Zephyrs, but wanted a more culturally relevant name.
Baby Cakes is a reference to king cakes, a New Orleans treat that traditionally has a small plastic baby inserted into it.
The baby symbolizes luck, and the person who gets the slice of cake with the baby inside is named king for the day.
Listach, a Louisiana native, said he isn’t too fond of the new name. He thinks there are several other names that could have been better.
“What’s wrong with the Crawfish?,” he joked.
Tacoma has had seven different names during its franchise history. The club has been the Giants, Cubs, Twins, Yankees, Tugs and Tigers.
The change to the current name, Rainiers, came in 1995 when Tacoma became the Triple-A affiliate of the Mariners.
The Rainiers wrapped up their throwback weekend activities Sunday by wearing their Tacoma Yankees uniforms. Tacoma was affiliated with the New York Yankees for one season in 1978.