The infielder, who missed three games with a shoulder injury he sustained diving for a ground ball at third base in the Rainiers’ June 22 game against El Paso, returned Wednesday. In the three games since, he has seven hits, a walk, two runs scored, and three RBIs.
“I’m feeling good and healthy,” Long said before Saturday evening’s game at Cheney Stadium. “I’m just going out and trying to do what I can do to help the team win on a daily basis.”
Long has hits in eight of his 10 games played since getting optioned back to Tacoma on June 14.
In his 20 games with the Mariners this season, he’s hitting .232, though half of his 16 big-league hits — seven doubles and one home run — went for extra bases. In Tacoma, Long is hitting .291 with seven home runs and 30 RBIs, and he added his first steal of the season to Tacoma’s PCL-leading total.
“I’m just having good at-bats, like I never left,” Long said. “Have good at-bats, look for good pitches to hit, and contribute in anyway I can to help the team win.”
All-Star Markel shines
The month of June has been fruitless for hitters facing Rainiers reliever Parker Markel. Over the course of eight outings, Markel has racked up 19 strikeouts in 11 innings, allowing two runs (one of them unearned) while earning four saves. He held opposing lineups hitless in seven of those appearances, the lone exception being two knocks given up to Nashville on June 8.
“I go out every outing pitching off my strengths,” Markel said. “That’s something I’ve tried to build on this year, just really pitching on what best suits me. As long as I go out with that game plan, things fall into place.”
Markel leads all current Tacoma pitchers with a 2.22 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP.
On Wednesday, he got the news that he’d be Tacoma’s lone representative at the PCL All-Star Game in El Paso, Texas, on July 10.
“I’m looking forward to it, going out with my wife to El Paso and experiencing a new city together,” Markel said. “It’ll be pretty cool.”
Reliever Aaron Northcrat and infielder Ryan Court both returned to Tacoma before Saturday’s game, coming off the injured list.
Northcraft had been sent to the IL on May 19; Court was placed on it May 25. Both were sent last Saturday to short-season Single-A Everett on rehab assignments.
To clear roster space, Lacey-native Brennon Kaleiwahea, who had two appearances for Tacoma since joining the team on June 16, was sent to extended spring training.