There weren't too many Seattle Mariners position players left after general manager Jerry Dipoto's offseason "step-back" plan.
Third baseman Kyle Seager was one of the few. After an injury early in spring training, the eight-year veteran is set to make his season debut Saturday afternoon when the visiting Mariners oppose the streaking Oakland Athletics, who have won seven in a row.
Seattle will attempt to snap a four-game losing skid.
"I'm very excited," Seager told The Seattle Times. "(Being on the injured list due to a torn tendon in his left hand) has been something new for me. It's definitely been an adjustment."
A two-time Gold Glove winner, Seager should help settle a defense that has made a major-league-worst 57 errors this season.
With Seager coming off his worst season in the majors -- a career-low .221 with 22 home runs and 78 RBIs -- and owed $19.5 million this season and next, he would have proved difficult to trade.
Seager underwent a rigorous offseason program to lose weight and add flexibility only to be injured March 8 in a Cactus League game against the Chicago Cubs, when he made a diving attempt at a ground ball and landed awkwardly on his glove hand and rolled over on it, tearing a tendon off the bone.
It was initially feared he's be out until mid-June.
"My timetable ended up going pretty quickly, but I don't feel like I was rushed or anything," Seager told The Times. "I was on the 60-day (injured list), so there was a set amount of time. There was no pressure to push it. I had the full time I needed. We hit all the milestones and we were hitting the milestones on an accelerated program and not because they were trying to push me out the door."
Seager batted .256 with seven RBIs in nine rehabilitation games with Triple-A Tacoma.
"Physically, I feel great," Seager said. "As I was telling (Seattle manager Scott Servais) earlier, I'm probably the most fresh guy in this room. Rehab assignment went good. I felt like I actually saw the ball pretty well.
"As far as my timing, there's still some inconsistencies only playing a week or so. I kind of missed out on spring training, but my swing felt good, timing felt good, arms, legs everything feels ready to roll."
Mariners rookie left-hander Yusei Kikuchi (3-1, 3.43 ERA) is scheduled to start Saturday against Athletics right-hander Mike Fiers (3-3, 5.05), who threw his second career no-hitter earlier this month. Kikuchi is 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts against the A's; Fiers is 2-2 with a 6.36 ERA in 10 career starts against Seattle.
The A's won the series opener 6-2 Friday night as Matt Olson, Mark Canha and Stephen Piscotty hit home runs.
Filling in for designated hitter Khris Davis, who was placed on the 10-day injured list earlier in the day with a left hip/oblique contusion, Canha homered for the third consecutive game.
"If there's a guy we feel really comfortable replacing KD for a while, it's Mark," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Canha does what KD does for us, so it kind of felt like having KD there, even though we're going to miss (Davis)."
--Field Level Media