It must have seemed like forever for South Jersey's own Darren Ford to get back to playing baseball, but the Vineland product is finally on the field and might get to the major leagues soon if he can keep the pace he's starting out at in the minors

Ford's 2012 season was dealt a bad blow when he started the first 2+ months on the injured reserved list with a broken finger.  Ford was hopeful to potentially be on the Seattle Mariners by now, but the 26-yr-old outfielder is making up for lost time with a good start to his season with Tacoma Rainiers (Pacific Coast League at the AAA level - just below the majors).

Ford's first 3 games has him 5-for-14 (.357 batting average) with a Double, a Triple, 2 Walks and 2 Runs Batted In.  This start is good news for Ford, who may be in his most critical season of his professional career.

Darren has shown speed in his career - over 300 Stolen Bases in 7 minor league seasons, and 9 Stolen Bases in his very brief sting in the majors for the San Francisco Giants.  Ford's speed, along with his defense and his eye at the plate is the key to getting a real shot at the big leagues (his Giants career was just 33 games).  Right now he may be in the perfect situation to get to Seattle soon.

The Mariners are 29-39 and heading nowhere quickly.  The team is lacking a threat at the top of the lineup, mainly due to the fact that future Hall of Fame outfielder Ichiro Suzuki is slowing down.  The 38-yr-old who has a career .323 batting average and has averaged about 40 Stolen Bases a season has taken a swan-dive down to hitting .255 and only 9 Stolen Bases.

The Mariners have only 4 outfielders on their roster, and 2 of them are lost offensively (Frankie Guiterrez along with Ichiro), and their "utility player" who helps in the outfield has been not much help (Chone Figgins is hitting just .185).

With the major league trading deadline approaching at the end of next moth, it's quite possible that the Mariners could swap out a few of the players mentioned above, opening the path for Ford to the show!  Darren will need a little help to make it back, but he needs to help himself and so far he is off to the right start, finally!