Mariners expecting Ben Gamel to break out of his recent cold streak

Gamel is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. Also Shawn O’Malley was activated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Tacoma and notes on shifting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Perhaps looking for a change in his luck at the plate, Ben Gamel arrived at the visitors’ clubhouse of Kauffman Stadium with a clean-shaven face. The removal of the reddish beard made him look very much his age — just 25 years old.

But will it lead to hits?

After getting his 16-game hit streak snapped in the first game of the road trip, Gamel is in the midst of a minor cold spell. He was  0 for his last 18 before hitting a single in the sixth inning Friday night. But there have been a few hard hit balls right at defenders.

“Ben has been off a little bit,” manager Scott Servais said. “He goes on these unbelievable hot streaks and then cools off a little bit, which is human nature and you come back to earth a little bit. He’s in one of those cooler periods right now. But I say that and he lined out hard again last night.”

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After a torrid June where he hit .393, Gamel hit a cold stretch in early July, going 5 for 33 with a double over nine games. He started his 16-game hit streak the following game.

Servais believes an off day in Texas and Gamel’s approach at the plate will allow him to get going again.

“He does put good at-bats together,” Servais said. “And when you do that consistently, you’ll eventually find some holes. He’ll be fine.”

Gamel is hitting .307 with a .796 on base plus slugging percentage this season and he’s starting to draw some attention in opponents’ scouting reports.

“People are paying more attention to him, there’s no doubt about that,” Servais said. “They know his hot zones and cold zones and what pitches he’s handling better. They have all that same data that we have. And they are paying more attention to his. “


Also …

Designated hitter Nelson Cruz was scratched just before Friday’s game due to neck spasms.

Infielder Shawn O’Malley returned from his rehab assignment and was activated from the 60-day disabled list then optioned to Class AAA Tacoma. He also had to be returned to the 40-man roster. So to make room for him, right-hander Christian Bergman was removed from the 40-man and outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma.

O’Malley was already playing his last games of his rehab with the Rainiers, going 2 for 4 with a RBI…

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