Encarnacion, Mariners hoping to break through against Indians
Edwin Encarnacion admitted this may have been the craziest offseason of his 15-year major league career.
Encarnacion was traded from Cleveland to Seattle on Dec. 13 for Carlos Santana, who had been acquired by the Mariners 10 days earlier from Philadelphia as part of the Jean Segura deal.
So forgive Encarnacion if he figured his time in Seattle might be brief, with the Mariners in what they called a "step-back" mode in trying to acquire talented young players that could help them win in 2020 and beyond.
"It was crazy," Encarnacion told MLB.com of his offseason. "Especially in the situation where I was having a baby coming and I don't know where I'm going to be. Are they going to trade me? No. Yes. No. That was the situation. But now I'm here, and I'm enjoying it."
Encarnacion, who welcomed son Edwin Jr. on Jan. 29, made his return to Progressive Field on Friday night as the Mariners opened a three-game series in Cleveland. The Indians won the opener 2-1 on pinch-hitter Tyler Naquin's run-scoring single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Encarnacion is batting .231 with eight home runs and 20 RBIs this season.
"Edwin doesn't give away at-bats, that's for sure," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He's really professional, grinding through at-bats, knowing what he's looking for, knowing how guys are going to approach him. He certainly doesn't get cheated at the plate. I've been really impressed with him since we had him. Not knowing what the future looked like, I think he's done things the right way."
It remains to be seen if Encarnacion, in the final season of a three-year, $60 million deal, will stay in Seattle past the July 31 trade deadline.
"I'm not thinking about that anymore," he told MLB.com. "I just try to do my job and do the things I can control. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, I don't think about it."
The Mariners have lost five games in a row, scoring just eight runs in the process.
Right-hander Mike Leake (2-2, 4.98 ERA) will attempt to stop the slide Saturday, when he's scheduled to start against Indians right-hander Carlos Carrasco (2-3, 5.86).
Leake is 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA in 10 career starts against Cleveland. He suffered a 4-2 loss to them April 16 in Seattle, allowing two runs on eight hits in six innings.
Carrasco is 5-3 with a 3.51 ERA in nine career starts against the Mariners. He pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out 12, in a 1-0 victory at Seattle on April 17.
The Indians announced Friday that ace right-hander Corey Kluber indeed has a broken bone in his right forearm after being hit with a line drive Wednesday.
In the wake of that news, Indians manager Terry Francona met with his team before the game.
"One of the first things I tell them at spring training is how we handle adversity kind of defines -- goes in large portions to how your season goes," Francona said. "Now we're getting it thrown at us, so (it's) how we can handle it, and I don't see where teams (will) come in and feel sorry for us. ... This can be our time to shine or we can feel sorry for ourselves and lose. We want to make sure we scratch and claw and do everything we can so we can get No. 1."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 4, 2019