An interesting look to the line-up tonight with Brad Miller batting lead-off. Yes, he’s hitting just .200 (4-for-20) with a .300 OBP and two stolen bases, but it’s not like the Mariners have had a true lead-off guys on this roster. This season they’ve used Jason Bay, Endy Chavez, Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders. Well, Bay and Chavez aren’t in the line-up tonight, Gutierrez is rarely in the line-up this season and Saunders is struggling so Wedge put Miller in there.
“You know, he puts up good ABs,” Wedge said. “We don’t have Bay in there and no Chavez in there, so we had to find someone to pop in there. I like having the young kids up top, the veterans in the middle and the young kids after them. We’ll see what happens.”
It’s not exactly new territory for Miller. He’s more than familiar with batting atop the order.
“Last year, in my first full year, I led off pretty much every game in High Desert or Jackson,” he said. “I feel comfortable there. Hopefully I can set the tone. I’ve had a lot of experience, for sure.”
Miller isn’t going to do anything different just because he’s batting lead-off. It’s a great misnomer among fans that players have to change their approach and suddenly see a ton of pitches. Miller is going to keep the approach that got him called up to the big leagues.
“Just get on base,” he said. “It’s the same thing. Really, you could be leading off the inning just one time. They say hitting’s contagious, so hopefully go up, have a good at-bat, and pass on to the next guy.”
Miller is hoping to get on base and maybe steal a base or two and get into scoring position for the middle of the order.
“All the games since I’ve been here have been close ball games,” he said. “The ability to take an extra base or score on a hit is huge. You’ve got to cash in runs any time you can.”
Miller wasn’t known as a great base stealer as a prospect. But he runs well and is using the advanced scouting they have the big league level and the knowledge of first base coach Mike Brumley to his advantage.
“I think just the attention to detail up here is awesome,” Miller said ”The amount of information available, you can really take advantage of it, if you want to, the coaches knowing so many tendencies of guys. And talking with Brum, if he has any ideas about a team, or how they like to do stuff, being aggressive out there. Once you get to first or second, your job’s not done. It just switches gears to running. So that’s big, instead of kind of being happy to be on base. That’s the difference.”
Michael Morse was supposed to run the bases today, but was unable to because the tarp was on the field before batting practice with the threat of precipitation.
Morse will run the bases tomorrow, and then hopefully head out on a rehab stint on Sunday or Monday. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list today. But the Mariners want him to get some at-bats with the Rainiers first.
Morse has been doing some running the outfield with some agility drills.
“I feel good,”he said. “It felt good when I was running. This is a lot better than it felt before.”
It wasn’t comparable to when he was trying to play through the injury.
“I feel like I can play right now if I could,” Morse said. “Definitely, when I was playing in Oakland I shouldn’t have been. So I compare it to then and I’m like, oh man, It’s 100 percent. I just want to make sure I don’t have to worry about this and play the rest of the games this year.”
Between the broken pinky and the strained quadriceps, Morse has probably felt completely healthy in less than 15 percent of the game he’s appeared in this season. The hope is for it to change in the second half.
“I’ve got handed a bad deck of cards when it comes to my health,” he said. “If it wasn’t one thing it was the other. But that’s how it goes sometimes. Everybody plays a little hurt during the year so you get used to it.”