Mariners’ Lee Dae-ho 1 for 10 in last four games

March 14, 2016

Lee Dae-ho (Yonhap)

By The Korea Times Los Angeles staff

Lee Dae-ho, who signed a minor league contract for an opportunity to earn a spot on the Seattle Mariners’ big league roster, has slowed down a bit since his 3 for 8 start. He has gone 1 for 10 since then to lessen the enthusiasm.

The 33-year-old South Korean, who was the Japan Series MVP last year, was sent out as the starting first baseman and batted fifth Monday against the Arizona Diamondbacks in split-squad action in Arizona, but failed to get a hit for the third time in four games. He is now 4 for 18 for the spring as his batting average has fallen to .222.

Lee faced Zack Greinke, who went 51-15 for the Los Angeles Dodgers over past three years, in his first at-bat and made him throw eight pitches before flying out to center.

The Mariners touched up Greinke for three runs in the third inning, and Lee also hit the ball well, but flied out deep to right to end the inning. 

Lee hit the ball sharply in the sixth against Daniel Hudson, but had nothing to show for it agains as Diamondbacks right fielder David Peralta caught the ball as he crashed into a wall.

Mariners added four runs late to pull away 8-3.

Lee  was the Japan Series MVP last year, but he wasn’t able to secure a major league contract, mainly because big-league scouts don’t exactly view him as a power-hitter despite his size (listed as 6-4, 250), nor expect him to hit for average.  The logic here is that he has hit over 30 home runs just twice since 2004 and he is a career .282 hitter in lower competition, and the expected drop off may not justify occupying a position reserved for the best hitters — first base or designated hitter — like Miguel Cabrera and Albert Pujols.

Still, he was confident enough in his ability to spurn a three-year $15 million offer from his former Japanese team to pursue his big league dreams.