OAKLAND - When the question arose for the media and fans following the Seattle Mariners, manager Eric Wedge had already asked it and had it answered.
With the opportunity to win a game Saturday night, Wedge had Miguel Olivo pinch-hit for Adam Moore.
Olivo, still getting treatment for a groin muscle he strained a month ago, singled and rumbled to third base – with a headfirst slide – later in the inning.
So the question came up: If Olivo had reinjured his groin muscle, who would have been the Mariners catcher?
“I asked that and Adam Kennedy jumped up,” Wedge said Sunday. “You’re always a bit uncomfortable using your last catcher, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to win a game.”
Has Kennedy, a veteran of 1,492 major league games, ever played an inning behind the plate?
“No,” Wedge said. “But it would have been interesting in the ninth inning, Brandon League throw sinkers to Adam Kennedy.”
David Aardsma threw a 30-pitch bullpen session before Sunday’s game, and for the first time felt like his stuff was competitive.
“The last 10 pitches, I was throwing full out,” Aardsma said. “That’s the best I’ve thrown, the best I’ve felt.”
The Mariners are pleased with Aardsma’s progress as he comes back from major hip surgery done in December. He is their closer, and the initial hope was that he could return in early May.
Now, the timetable could move up, but they insist they will force Aardsma not to overdo it as he gets anxious to pitch again.
“I’m not there, but I’m closer,” Aardsma said.
First baseman Justin Smoak ended the 2010 season on a 10-game hitting streak, then continued it in each game of the series here.
The resulting 13-game streak is the longest of his career, and he’s batting .333 this season with two doubles, four walks and only two strikeouts.
“The approach he had in spring has carried over, he’s going up there with confidence,” Wedge said.
Play of the Day for the Mariners came in the second inning, with Hideki Matsui perched at second base with no one out. Teammate Kurt Suzuki then flied to right field. Matsui tagged and went for third – and Ichiro Suzuki threw him out with a great throw. And it happened on Oakland’s “Japanese Heritage Day.” Here’s an interesting comparison between Edgar Martinez, who did not run well, and Ichiro – who runs very well. The Edgar got 140 career infield hits among his 2,247 – just over six percent. Among Ichiro’s 2,249, 519 never left the infield (about 23 percent). ... After three games, the only man on Seattle’s 25-man roster who hasn’t appeared yet is left-handed reliever Aaron Laffey. ... Numbers can lie: Chone Figgins entered the game batting .313 in his career vs. Gio Gonzalez – having gone 5-for-16 with a double against him. On Sunday, Figgins struck out, flied out and ground into a double play against the lefty.
Seattle opens a three-game series in Texas with a 5:05 p.m. (PDT) game that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Seattle’s Erik Bedard vs. Derek Holland.