April struggles bring Seager's May hot streak

Mariners third baseman made tweak in stance that has lifted performance

May 22nd, 2016

CINCINNATI -- On the last day of April, Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager was hitting .159/.266/.378. He had five home runs in the first month of the season but little else when it came to consistent productivity at the plate.

How things change in baseball over the course of a few weeks for a player and his team.

Since the calendar flipped to May, Seager has hit .359/.414/.628 with three home runs, eight doubles, two triples and 13 RBIs, as he's helped the Mariners surge to the top of the American League West standings. The third baseman had a RBI single in the Mariners' 5-4 come-from-behind win against the Reds Sunday. It came in the decisive three-run fifth inning, tying the game at 4 after the Mariners once trailed 3-0.

More than just the changing of the calendar, however, Seager has been working with hitting coach Edgar Martinez and quality control coach Chris Prieto. What they found is something that every parent tells their child: stand up straight. Not that they want Seager to be stiff in his batting stance, but good posture translates well in the batter's box.

"The beginning of the year, I didn't swing the bat very well. I put myself in some bad positions. I was able to work through some stuff with Edgar," said Seager. "We found a couple of things in my swing that I was doing differently from when I was successful in years past. We are staying a little taller and maintaining my posture a little more."

Seager has started all but one game this season, continuing a career marked by durability. Seager has played at least 155 games in each of the last four seasons.

"He's using the whole field," manager Scott Servais said. "He is a predominantly a pull hitter, and they shift against him often, but when he's getting base hits into center field, driving the ball into left-center field then the balls to right field tend to stay fair."