Originally posted on SeaTown Sports  |  Last updated 4/17/13
Photo Credit: Ted S. Warren/Associated Press This was supposed to be the year. Two new power-hitting additions, shorter fences, health and improvement from the guys already here. This is the year the offense was supposed to really arrive. But where is it? Some early season injuries haven’t helped as Michael Morse, who is leading the club in home runs, missed four games with a pinkie injury. Franklin Gutierrez, who has also been hitting well, missed a couple games with some leg soreness. These injuries, along with Michael Saunders being placed on the 15-day DL for a sprained right shoulder, have created revolving doors in the outfield. Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, and Endy Chavez have gotten more playing time than expected. Injuries however isn't the only problem with the Mariners offense, as some players are just hitting poorly. Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley are both batting under .200 with Ackley barely exceeding the .100 mark. These are well below the Mendoza line, and other starters like Brendan Ryan and Jesus Montero are off to sluggish starts as well. The only guy who is actually healthy and hitting well is Kelly Shoppach, who has only played in six games. Montero could become a full-time DH and I do think this is a real possibility, but frankly I wonder whether he will be able to produce at a high enough level to beat out other guys competing for the same spot. One possible move would be to have Kendrys Morales take over the first baseman duties with Justin Smoak’s extreme struggles at the plate and move Montero to the DH, but this early in the season I don’t think anyone is expecting any moves that drastic. This early in the season it is important to be patient with younger players, but if these struggles continue well into the season, changes need to be made. Seattle has only scored more than three runs in four games this season. But with the return of Morse and Gutierrez to the lineup last night, the hope is the offense will improve greatly. It's early, but there's only so much time before changes have to be made. Luckily, the Mariners still have 147 games to get it going.
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