Seager returns to lineup loudly with three-run homer

Third baseman sat out Saturday's game with tightness in his side

Seager returns to lineup loudly with three-run homer

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Kyle Seager was back in the Mariners' lineup for Sunday's 8-0 victory over the Rangers after being held out Saturday with some tightness in his side. The All-Star third baseman wasted no time showing he was OK.

Seager made an emphatic return with a three-run home run in the first inning off Yovani Gallardo and finished the game 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored. Seager's only out came on a sharp line drive off Gallardo's glove in the fifth that was hit so hard it deflected into center field, where Leonys Martin picked up the ball and threw to second in time to force Nelson Cruz.

Clearly Seager was swinging well and feeling fine after being scratched from Saturday's lineup with the tight muscle in his side.

"It felt fine," Seager said. "If this was during the season, it's a non-issue."

Seager said he went through his normal morning workout Saturday, taking ground balls and hitting, but manager Lloyd McClendon pulled him out of the lineup after he reported to the training room for treatment.

"It was a precautionary thing," Seager said. "I told Skip I could have played yesterday. It was just one of those things in Spring Training where you don't want to overdo it and hurt yourself when you don't need to."

Seager figures to be one of the key figures in Seattle's lineup this year as the No. 5 hitter behind Robinson Cano and Cruz. Seager's hitting .407 (11-for-27) with two doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs in 11 Cactus League games.

In other news Sunday:

• McClendon said the decision on a second left-hander in the bullpen -- a battle now down to Rule 5 Draft pick David Rollins, former Gonzaga standout Tyler Olson and veteran Joe Saunders -- won't likely be made for another week to 10 days.

• If James Paxton proves healthy, there's a chance he could pitch in the No. 2 spot in the Mariners rotation between right-handers Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma. Paxton, making his first start of the spring on Sunday, currently is lined up between those two in the Cactus League schedule.

Asked if he likes the idea of a right-left-right-left rotation, McClendon said: "If they're good, yeah. I don't like it just to have it." But McClendon then acknowledged, "I have real good candidates to have it, yeah."

Paxton on Mariners' potent staff

• Iwakuma will pitch in a simulated game Monday morning against Minor League hitters, while Erasmo Ramirez gets the start in the afternoon's Cactus League game against the Angels in Tempe.

J.A. Happ is scheduled to pitch Tuesday against the Padres, Taijuan Walker gets the Wednesday night start against the Cubs and Hernandez will face the Royals on Thursday afternoon. All those games are at Peoria Stadium. The Mariners also have a split-squad game Thursday against the Brewers at Maryvale, with Roenis Elias getting that start.

• McClendon had a motivational speaker in the clubhouse on Sunday morning. The session was closed to the media, but a group was setting up stacks of bricks and boards to be broken in what McClendon called "part of the act." Before reporters were ushered out of the clubhouse, Hernandez was pretending he was going to break some of the boards being carefully stacked for the demonstration.

"Use your left arm, Felix," catcher Mike Zunino called out.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.