Logan Morrison finds his swing by keeping things simple
The Mariners’ Logan Morrison has 11 hits in his past 34 at-bats, including a two-home run game earlier this week. Morrison missed a long stretch early in his first season with the Mariners because of a hamstring injury.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Cleveland @ Mariners, 7:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
This is how Logan Morrison entices coaches, scouts, baseball executives and fans. It’s games like Monday night’s 12-3 win over the Boston Red Sox at Safeco Field.
Morrison, batting cleanup for the Mariners, went 4 for 4 with two home runs and two singles, driving in four runs.
The home runs were massive blasts that cut through the marine air, landing deep into the seats in right field and right-center. The singles were hard shots through the right side.
It was a tantalizing example of what Morrison, 26, could be as a hitter. Obviously, four-hit, two-homer nights are not expected every night from any hitter, but Morrison has the talent and strength to be a productive presence in the middle of the order. A power hitter to help complement the hitting of Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager.
There is an opportunity for Morrison to be that. It’s why the Mariners traded for him in the offseason. And if they hope to make a run for a spot in the postseason, they need him to be that presence and more.
Of course for Morrison to do that, he needs to stay healthy. Injuries submarined his last two seasons with the Marlins. And injuries have sidetracked his season with the Mariners.
But if he could just stay healthy with consistent playing time?
“Let’s start there and see where it goes,” he said. “I’m anxious to see. I’m not going to put any expectations on myself other than have a good at-bat and grind it out. And numbers-wise, whatever happens, happens — just relax. I don’t care where I’m hitting or where I’m playing just as long as I’m in the lineup every day and getting consistent playing time.”
In his eighth game of this season, Morrison was jogging in the outfield in Arlington, Texas, when he felt his hamstring tighten up. What seemed like a minor hamstring strain led to him missing 52 games.
By the time he was finally healthy, manager Lloyd McClendon made a decision that Morrison would use the full allotment of his rehab assignment of 20 days to work on finding his timing, tweaking his swing and polishing his approach with Class AAA Tacoma. So even when Morrison hit early with the Rainiers, he stayed there working and trying to find his consistency. He hit .308 with two doubles and three homers in 18 games with the Rainiers.
“I was definitely working on stuff with my swing,” he said. “Staying behind the ball is a big thing. Not getting out on my front foot, but staying back and using the whole field.”
It was more than just the physical aspects of the swing that Morrison tried to work on.
“I was just trying to get back to having the feel of — ‘OK, I got out here. But how’d I get out? Why did I get out?’ ” he said. “Not just being all concerned about the result, but getting back to the process of it.”
But that process didn’t translate into instant success back with the Mariners. In his first five games back, Morrison went 2 for 17 with a double and a homer. He punctuated that fifth game with a frustrating rage, smashing his bat against a wall in the dugout. A piece of the bat flew off and hit him above the eye, opening a gash that forced him out of the game and required five stitches. He apologized to his teammates and McClendon. He also had to explain it to his wife, Christie.
“When she saw it, she said, ‘You know, it’s not going heal up there around your eyebrow,’ ” he said.
But since that outburst, Morrison hasn’t had much to be angry about. He’s hitting .324 (11 for 34) with a double, three homers and eight RBI with a 1.002 on-base plus slugging percentage
“He has better timing,” McClendon said. “He’s played every day. The 20 days at Tacoma helped quite a bit and helped him get his timing down. I thought his at-bats on the road helped. He was very focused.”
Morrison likes the way his swing and his approach have felt during this stretch.
“It definitely feels better,” he said. “I’m getting my foot down a little earlier and I’m being able to control my body weight and not letting it come forward before I swing. Obviously through the course of 162 games, stuff is going to get out of whack. But hopefully mine started out of whack, and that will be what happens and we’ll move on.”
Morrison is evolving. He’s maturing. He’s understanding who he is as a hitter and a player.
“The toughest part of baseball — if you are a Hall of Famer, you are going to fail seven out of 10 times,” he said. “For those who aren’t Hall of Famers, it’s a constant struggle to be able to not worry about results, stick to the process. Did I swing at a good pitch? Did I hit the ball hard? OK, then I won. If I hit the ball hard, I win. If it found the glove, it found the glove. It makes it easier to go home and sleep at night when you can simplify that.”
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373
On Twitter: @RyanDivish