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August 6, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Mariners left fielder Michael Saunders trying more “athletic” batting stance

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Some quick Mariners news for you regarding Chris Shelton, who has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Class AAA Tacoma. That leaves Shelton in a position to be called up by the Mariners in September.
Had a chat with Michael Saunders, who is nearing his two-week mark in the big leagues. Saunders has already made an adjustment to the stance that helped him put up those big numbers in AAA.
“I’m trying to be a little more athletic in the lower half at the plate,” he said, bending his knees for emphasis. “I’m just trying to stay back instead of leaning forward. It helps me to see pitches and to recognize pitches.
“I’ve probably been doing it for three or four days now. When I’m at the plate, I try not to think about it. It’s just the kind of thing where I hope I can get to the point where it just comes to me automatically and I don’t have to think about it.”
Saunders notched his first major league triple last night and he’s now 4-for-9 in this series.
“I had one or two triples the entire time I was down in AAA,” he said. “So, no. I never really expected to get one this quick.”


Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu saw the boil that David Aardsma had lanced yesterday and admitted: “It was bad.”
He described the boil as being “an inch deep.”
Wakamatsu said the decision to use Aardsma will come down to both his pain tolerance and whether the problem could worsen if he pitches.
“He says he could go,” Wakamatsu said. “I told him I’d call down there (to the bullpen) to see if there was any pain when he throws. There’s day-to-day and he’s probably minute-to-minute.”
I also caught up with Mariners catcher Rob Johnson, who had that bizarre scamper from home to first and then all the way to third on one single to center in last night’s seventh inning. Johnson says he never hesitated in going to second when the high throw back in from center sailed over the cutoff man’s head. Johnson easily beat the throw to second, and in the meantime, Jack Wilson had broken from third towards the plate.
Johnson said he could tell the throw from shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt was a little wide and was going to force catcher Miguel Olivo to reach back and try to tag Wilson.
“As a catcher, I know that kind of play makes you fall down,” he said. “You usually wind up on the ground when you tag a guy like that. So, i was taking a step towards third, then another, and when I saw the throw home, I knew it would cause (Olivo) to leave his feet, so I took off.”
Johnson easily beat the throw to third. Three throws, no errors and three extra bags taken by the Mariners all on the same play. Doesn’t happen often at the major league level without at least one error.

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