Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel needs a few more games and hits and then he could be leading the Major Leagues in hitting.
Mariners outfielder Ben Gamel needs a few more games and a few more hits and then he just might be the official major league leader in batting average.
Gamel was hitting .353 entering Saturday night’s game against Houston, which would lead the majors if he had enough plate appearances.
He’s just a few shy.
Players need 3.1 plate appearances per game (based on a 162-game season) to qualify to lead the league in batting average.
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Gamel has 230 plate appearances this season in 53 games, which as of Saturday had him six plate appearances short. Gamel is averaging 4.3 plate appearances per game, which as the Mariners noted Saturday means he needs about five more games at the same pace — while still getting ample hits — to take over the lead.
Gamel might have enough plate appearances had he begun the season with the Mariners. Instead, he spent the first three weeks in Tacoma despite a spring in which he was tied for second on the team in home runs with three and tied for third in runs batted in with 10 while hitting .258.
As Mariners manager Scott Servais recalled before Saturday’s game, Gamel had shown enough to make the major-league roster, but there was simply no place for him at the time.
“He certainly could have made our team,’’ Servais said. “But when you put the team together in the offseason, you don’t want to get too caught up in what goes on in spring training. We had a plan with what our team was going to look like and Leonys Martin was on that team based on what he had done the year before.’’
That was the essence of Servais’ talk with Gamel when he was sent down — that he’d played well enough to be with the big club and “would get a chance to come back (at some point during the season) just because of how…