Dustin Ackley gets back into action for Mariners
Dustin Ackley, who hit .365 in 104 at-bats with Class AAA Tacoma, appeared in the Mariners’ loss Wednesday as a pinch-runner.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Dustin Ackley finally got into a Mariners game again, but only as a pinch-runner for Kendrys Morales in the eighth inning of Wednesday’s defeat.
Ackley had been kept out of the starting lineup a second straight day since his recall from Class AAA. The Mariners didn’t take batting practice before Wednesday’s game and manager Eric Wedge was reluctant to insert Ackley without the proper preparatory work.
It was a similar situation Tuesday night, when Ackley arrived from AAA just before game time to take the spot of injured Franklin Gutierrez. Speaking to reporters pregame on Wednesday, Ackley said he’s ready to show what he can do in the outfield.
“It’s been going great,” said Ackley, who finished Wednesday’s game as a DH but did not get a plate appearance. “I think I’ve had almost two weeks in the outfield down there and it’s gone better than expected. I at first thought I might be a little lost when I got out there. But kind of right away, the first game, everything felt pretty good. I think the biggest transition was just getting my body used to the extra running and the longer throws.”
Ackley also tried to relax a bit more at the plate than he had in the majors. He hit .365 in 104 at-bats for Tacoma.
“I think it was just more the mental side of it,” he said. “I think the last two days I was here, I kind of started to get on the right track of how I needed to feel and think.
“And then, when I got down there things all of a sudden started to take off.”
• Felix Hernandez logged 11 strikeouts over seven innings Wednesday and looked far sharper than he did getting knocked around in the fifth inning in Anaheim last week. Hernandez had an 8-1 lead in that game, left with the score 8-7 and the Mariners went on to lose 10-9.
“I had pretty good command of my fastball and my breaking ball was a little better,” Hernandez said. “My fastball is one of my best pitches and if I have command of that pitch, my breaking ball is going to go better.”
It was the second double-digit strikeout game of the season for Hernandez and the 23rd of his career.
• Two players from the Mariners organization have been selected to play for the United States in the Futures Game next month in New York. Class AAA shortstop Brad Miller and starting pitcher Taijuan Walker — who could both be with the Mariners in the second half — will join the USA squad. Class AA infielder Ji-Man Choi is a finalist to be named to the World team.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @gbakermariners.