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August 20, 2010 at 2:52 PM

Healthy left fielder Michael Saunders sits out against right hander so Matt Tuiasosopo can play

Well, this is an interesting development. Michael Saunders is feeling healthy and ready to play and his manager agrees he’s pretty much 100 percent. But Saunders is not playing tonight against right-handed pitcher A.J. Burnett of the New York Yankees. Instead, it’s Matt Tuiasosopo getting his third straight start.
“He was in there against a right-hander on Wednesday and handled it pretty well,” Mariners manager Daren Brown said. “The guy’s at two days in a row with seven RBIs. That’s two pretty good days. And again, you’re talking about a young kid and I think it’s important to show some confidence in him. And I think, by the same token, Saunders needs to play too. We’ll hopefully get in a position where I can give them both a lot of at-bats.
“But right now, Tui will be in there today and I think he’s earned it.”
No doubt.
But there is that little thing about getting the young guys at-bats. Brown knows this, as he mentions above.


For now, he’s avoiding sitting out one of his veterans at another position. You’ve got Jose Lopez at third, Chone Figgins at second and Casey Kotchman at first base. Tuiasosopo can play all three of those positions.
But Brown won’t do it just yet. He says the players at those other spots are all playing pretty well.
Well, actually, none of them are tearing it up the past seven days, though Figgins is having a decent month of August while Kotchman is showing signs of emerging from a month-long slump.
Lopez is hitting .250 with a 679 OPS this past week. Figgins is at .160 with a .401 for the week, though he’s .306 with a .708 OPS for the month. Kotchman is at .240, with a .709 OPS for the week, but only .190 and .510 for the month.
Saunders was pulled out of the hallway and into the manager’s office for a chat with Brown about what he’s doing tonight and how he feels about handing out playing time in general.
“I compeltely understand,” Saunders said. “Tui’s had some big games and he’s earned it. Seven RBI? How manay have we had the rest of the week?”
He added: “I know I’ll get my chance to be in there, but right now, this is Tui’s time.”
Said Brown: “He’s a smart kid, he understands. At the same time, I wouldn’t expect him to be happy about it. Idon’t think anybody should be happy sitting on the bench.”
Brown later mentioned the possibility of some players being given “a rest” so Tuiasosopo and Saunders can both get enough ABs. This could be fun to monitor the rest of the trip.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins

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