The Mariners’ outfield shuffle continues.
Michael Saunders’ return has put him back into center field and atop the lineup. Franklin Gutierrez remains on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained right hamstring.
The injuries and glut of outfielders have caused some interesting choices for manager Eric Wedge.
He played Raul Ibañez often in the first month of the season. Even against left-handed relievers, Wedge often chose to leave Ibañez in to hit. It didn’t work.
Ibañez is hitting .161 overall and .100 (1-for-10) against left-handed pitchers. He had 56 at-bats in April, certainly not the plan coming out of spring training. It appears Ibañez’s playing time will be reduced for now.
“(He) hasn’t has as much of an opportunity to play here of late,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Had quite a bit of an opportunity there early to play. It’s a long season. With Saunders back, with the way (Jason) Bay has been swinging the bat, and (Michael) Morse is coming around a little bit, trying to get Kendrys (Morales) going, too. There’s just not a spot for him right now.”
Looks like there is one for Bay. Bay was hitting .500 (7-for-14) over his past four games coming into Tuesday and, with Gutierrez languishing on the disabled list, will get plenty of playing time in the coming weeks.
“He’s been swinging the bat well,” Wedge said. “He’s been much more consistent lately. I think he’s made some adjustments that have really paid off for him.
“Obviously he’s had great success in the past. Hopefully, he’ll keep going.”
The Mariners signed veteran outfielder Corey Patterson to a minor league contract and sent him to extended spring training in Peoria, Ariz.
Patterson played 117 games for Triple-A Nashville last season, an affiliate of the Brewers, where he hit .259 with 10 home runs and 39 RBI. Patterson has played 12 major league seasons, appearing in 1,230 games with the Cubs, Orioles, Nationals, Reds, Cardinals, Blue Jays and Brewers. He was last in the majors in 2011 with the Cardinals.
Patterson signed a minor league contract with Seattle prior to the 2010 season but didn’t make the roster.
Wedge said the Mariners are simply taking a look at a veteran player.
STEARNS BACK ON FIELD
John Stearns was back as the third-base coach and will be in the same spot today when the series with the Orioles wraps up. Stearns is replacing Jeff Datz while Datz assesses treatment options for cancer. It’s unclear if Datz will be on the upcoming road trip.
Aaron Harang (0-3, 11.37 ERA) will start for Seattle against Baltimore left-hander Wei-Yin Chen (2-2, 2.53). The game will be broadcast on Root Sports, 1030-AM and 710-AM.