PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — The Seattle Mariners wanted to add power and production to this season's lineup, importing veteran hitters while also moving in fences at spacious Safeco Field.
While Cactus League stats shouldn't be taken too seriously, the Mariners' beefed-up offense is hitting home runs at a rapid rate. Jason Bay, Michael Morse, Michael Saunders and Carlos Peguero connected Friday in an 8-6 win over the Texas Rangers.
The Mariners lead the majors in homers this spring. They have connected for 18 in eight games — and won seven in a row.
Mitch Moreland hit a two-run homer for the Rangers, but they couldn't keep up with the Mariners.
After acquiring Morse and Kendrys Morales in trade sand signing Raul Ibanez and Bay, Seattle hopes these offensive outbursts are a sign of good things to come.
"We had a hole that we tried to fill in the offseason," Saunders said. "In terms of pitching, defense and running the bases, I thought we were among the best around. Our issue was offense.
"By getting quality bats that you can stick in the middle of the lineup, it takes some pressure off the younger guys and allows them to progress without tremendous pressure. That's generated some excitement for Mariners baseball," he said.
The Mariners have won seven straight spring training games for the first time since 1998. But the time of year can temper long-term optimism. Questions remain about whether this revamped offense will produce in the regular season, especially in a competitive AL West.
The Los Angeles Angels spent big money on new talent and the Rangers and Oakland Athletics made last year's postseason.