SEATTLE -- After a rough beginning to his first season with the Mariners and then nearly two months on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring, first baseman Logan Morrison has begun contributing offensively after moving into the starting lineup two weeks ago in place of the injured Justin Smoak.
Morrison was in the starting lineup Tuesday against the Red Sox for the 13th time in the past 14 games and he's hit .244 in that span, helped by a 4-for-4 night with a walk and two home runs in Monday's 12-3 win, to raise his batting average to .215.
The 26-year-old became just the ninth player in Mariners history on Monday to reach base safely five times in a game while hitting two or more home runs and recording at least four RBIs. The last Mariner to achieve those totals was Mike Cameron in his four-homer game in 2002.
"I got good pitches and didn't try to do too much," Morrison said. "I barreled 'em up and they went out. The singles, I beat the shift on one, which I haven't been doing much lately. I've been finding gloves. And with the infield drawn in because [Kyle] Seager was on third, that helps out a lot. That opens up more holes and you always want those situations when you're at the plate."
Morrison had never had a two home-run game in the Majors, even when he hit 23 as a rookie for the Marlins in 2011. But he said he's felt better at the plate of late.
"I would say maybe at the end of the Texas series or in San Diego, I started feeling like I could stay behind the ball better, put better swings on pitches," he said. "You stick to the process, stick to the process, keep grinding out at-bats and the next thing you know you look up at the end of the year and you've got pretty good numbers. Hopefully that's what happens here. I have to stay healthy, obviously, but that's a personal level. I'm just trying to get wins."
Smoak is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday and manager Lloyd McClendon said he'd likely talk to general manager Jack Zduriencik about that situation after Tuesday's game.
But the Mariners need help at designated hitter as well, so it shouldn't be hard to find a place for Morrison if he continues swinging the bat better. McClendon feels things have been looking up there since Morrison spent 18 games on a Triple-A rehab assignment with Tacoma and hit .308 in 65 at-bats.
"He has better timing," McClendon said. "He's played every day. I think the 20 games at Tacoma helped quite a bit. He got his timing down. I thought his at-bats on the road helped. He was very focused and had good at-bats. Even when he didn't get hits, he had good at-bats and I think it's carried over."
Guerrero, Peterson named to Futures Game roster
SEATTLE -- Third baseman D.J. Peterson, the Mariners' first-round Draft pick in 2013, completed a pretty good 24-hour period on Tuesday when he was named to the U.S. Team for the upcoming 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
Peterson's selection came shortly after he was promoted from Class A Advanced High Desert to Double-A Jackson by the Mariners on Monday night after hitting .326 with 18 home runs and 73 RBIs in 65 games.
Peterson will be joined at the All-Star Futures Game by outfielder Gabby Guerrero, another one of the Mariners top young prospects. Guerrero will play on the World Team at the July 13 game at Target Field in Minneapolis as part of the All-Star Week festivities.
Guerrero, a 20-year-old outfielder from the Dominican Republic, has hit .313 with 16 doubles, eight home runs, 12 stolen bases and 50 RBIs in 71 games for High Desert. He is the nephew of former MLB All-Star outfielder Vladimir Guerrero and is in his third season in the Mariners' organization after signing as a non-drafted free agent in 2011.
The Mariners have had 31 selections to the Futures Game since its first began in 1999. Seven players on the current 25-man roster and disabled list played in the Futures Game in the past: John Buck (2002), Robinson Cano (2003-04), Corey Hart ('02), Felix Hernandez ('04), Logan Morrison ('10), James Paxton ('11) and Michael Saunders ('07).
Brad Miller was selected to the 2013 U.S. Team, but he was unable to play due to his promotion to the Major League squad. Buck, Cano, Hart and Hernandez are among 115 Major League players who have competed in both the Futures Game and the MLB All-Star Game.
The Futures Game, which is now in its 16th year, features the top Minor League prospects competing in a nine-inning contest as part of Taco Bell All-Star Sunday. The U.S. Team, which has won each of the last four contests, leads the all-time series, 9-6. The game will begin at 2 p.m. PT and can be viewed live on MLB.com and MLB Network.
Iwakuma still has time to state All-Star credentials
SEATTLE -- Mariners right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is operating at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to landing his second straight American League All-Star berth after missing April with a torn tendon in his right finger, but the 33-year-old has two more starts to make his case before pitchers are selected for the team on July 6.
Iwakuma is 5-3 with a 3.04 ERA in 10 starts since coming off the disabled list on May 2. He'll face the Red Sox in Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. PT series finale at Safeco Field, then lines up against the Astros on July 1 at Minute Maid Park.
Fans can cast their votes for starting position players at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 8:59 p.m. PT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15, on FOX.
Iwakuma raised his national profile last year when he finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting after going 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA in 33 starts. He was 7-4 with a 2.60 ERA in 18 starts when last year's All-Star squads were announced, so he'll have six fewer starts this year when the club is named.
But if the Japanese standout pitches well in his next two outings, he could still field a pretty strong case to be included as one of the top pitchers in the American League.
"Stuff-wise and pitchability-wise, yeah," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Obviously missing a month is going to hurt him when people look at the numbers. But is he deserving? Yeah. Will he make it? I can't answer that. You never know. He might still be in the running."
• Michael Saunders went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs for Triple-A Tacoma on Monday in his fourth rehab start. The right fielder is hitting .529 (9-for-17) with a home run and seven RBIs. He's eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, which means the earliest he could rejoin the club would be Friday for the series opener with the Indians since Thursday is an off-day.
Smoak went 1-for-5 with a two-run homer in Monday's game, putting his average at .217 (5-for-23) with three walks in six rehab games. Smoak is eligible to come off the DL on Wednesday.
Designated hitter Corey Hart also had a big game on Monday as he went 2-for-5 with a triple and an RBI. Hart has hit .385 (5-for-13) in three rehab outings as he works back from a strained hamstring. Hart is eligible to return as soon as he's deemed ready as he's been on the DL since May 19.
• Stanford right-hander Sam Lindquist, the Mariners' 37th-round Draft pick, has signed with the club and will report to Class A Everett this week. The 6-foot-6, 255-pounder grew up on Mercer Island, Wash., and attended Eastside Catholic High School. He's the older brother of University of Washington quarterback Jeff Lindquist.