Rookie outfielder Michael Saunders has appeared in 33 games since coming up from Tacoma in July – but it doesn’t look like he’ll be in any more this season.
The 22-year-old left-handed hitter had more bunt hits (6) than extra-base hits (2) in 100 at-bats. When he made a few mistakes in the outfield – perhaps taking his .200 average out there with him – the Mariners decided it was time for a change.
In the past week, and for the rest of the season, Saunders is a special project for batting coach Alan Cockrell. Bill Hall and Ryan Langerhans will get the at-bats during the game, Saunders will get plenty of hitting work before.
The goal is to keep Saunders from losing all confidence – he is currenly 0-for-his-last-24 – and get him ready to take a more relaxed swing to winter ball.
In Tacoma, Saunders showed he could hit AAA pitching, batting .310 with 15 doubles and 13 home runs in 64 games.
With Seattle, he hasn’t hit a home run, has one double and one triple.
The decision to sit Saunders isn’t punitive, the team insists, but purely to help him improve while maintaining his sanity.
Throwing him into games against John Danks, A.J. Burnett and CC Sabathia didn’t seem in his best interests. Working with Cockrell may be.