Tue Jul 23 4:14am ET
Kyle Seager came to spring training in the best shape of his career and with a retooled swing, hoping to bounce back from his worst season at the plate.
Instead, he has spent time on the injured list for the first time in his career and is batting .189 for the last-place Seattle Mariners.
"It's hard to be worse, I guess, so it's a good way to go from there," Seager told the (Tacoma) News Tribune.
Seager hit a home run Monday in the Mariners' 7-3 victory over the visiting Texas Rangers to snap a 1-for-14 slump on Seattle's current homestand.
Seager and the Mariners will look to do some more damage Tuesday when the Rangers are expected to call up right-hander Pedro Payano for a spot start.
Payano, a 24-year-old rookie, will be making his second major league appearance and first start. He pitched one scoreless inning of relief July 6 at Minnesota.
The Mariners are scheduled to use a reliever as an opener before turning the ball over to veteran left-hander Tommy Milone (1-4, 3.95 ERA).
Seager had career lows in 2018 with a .221 batting average and .273 on-base percentage. His slugging percentage of .400 was second lowest only to the .379 mark from his rookie season of 2011.
His start to this season was delayed after he injured the extensor tendon in his left hand in a spring training game March 8 and underwent surgery four days later.
He didn't make his return until the final week of May.
"It was definitely a weird start to the season," Seager told the News Tribune. "It was something I've never dealt with before. I've never been on the (IL) before, so that was definitely different.
"Kind of getting back in the swing of things, the weirdest part was not feeling like a part of the group. Not having a normal interaction with the guys. You watch them on TV, but you don't have that same connection when you're hurt. You're not a part of it."
Seager snapped an 0-for-21 skid with a home run in the penultimate game before the All-Star break. His solo shot Monday was his seventh homer of the season.
Austin Nola added a three-run homer for Seattle, and left-hander Marco Gonzales overcame a shaky first two innings to throw seven innings of two-run ball.
The Rangers, who have lost eight straight to drop to .500 (50-50), scored once in the first and loaded the bases with no outs in the second. They managed just one run in that inning, and Gonzales retired 17 of the final 18 batters he faced.
"We had him early, bases loaded, nobody out," Rangers manager Chris Woodward told reporters. "To only score one there, I was hoping that wouldn't come to bite us back, and it did.
"The next inning we make a mistake (to Nola) and we're down a run instead of potentially being up quite a few in that inning. (Gonzales is) a good pitcher, we knew that. We got to him last time. He's going to make his pitches, but when you got him on the ropes, you got to put him away in that inning, and we just didn't do that."
--Field Level Media