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July 15, 2012 at 11:48 AM

Sunday notes: Brendan Ryan (.182) at leadoff as Ackley sits

Happy 34th birthday to Miguel Olivo, and happy 13th birthday to Safeco Field, which debuted on this day in 1999 when the Mariners played the Padres.
Here are today’s lineups:
Mariners (37-52)
——————————–
26 Brendan Ryan SS
51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) RF
33 Casper Wells LF
63 Jesus Montero DH
17 Justin Smoak (S) 1B
15 Kyle Seager (L) 2B
30 Miguel Olivo C
55 Michael Saunders (L) CF
9 Chone Figgins (S) 3B
——————————–
18 Hisashi Iwakuma RHP
Rangers (53-35)
——————————–
5 Ian Kinsler 2B
1 Elvis Andrus SS
32 Josh Hamilton (L) DH
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
10 Michael Young 1B
17 Nelson Cruz RF
7 David Murphy (L) LF
8 Yorvit Torrealba C
23 Craig Gentry (L) CF
——————————–
54 Matt Harrison LHP
Yes, the Mariners have a .182 hitter at leadoff. Wedge said his lineup decisions today were fueled by the fact that Rangers starter Matt Harrison has extreme left-right splits. Lefties are hitting just .178 off him with one home run, while righties are hitting .291. Wedge feels like Ackley is slowly making some progress at the plate, and he didn’t want it set back against Harrison.


“I feel like Ackley’s swing is definitely heading in the right direction,” Wedge said. “That’s a tough matchup today against this kid, and I didn’t want to disturb anything with that.”
The Mariners will be facing three straight left-handers in Kansas City, starting Monday with Jonathan Sanchez, followed by Everett Teaford and Bruce Chen. Look for some of the other lefties in the lineup to get rests in that series, Wedge said.
Back to Wedge’s thought process today: “I wanted a right-hander to lead off against this guy, with his splits being so extreme. We’ve got Figgins in there, but he hasn’t been playing. I wanted an every-day guy, so Ryan is the guy. Hopefully, it will help get him going a little, too. I got the reaction I wanted before the game, and hopefully it plays out into the game. He’s fired up. That’s good.”
Wedge said that Jesus Montero, who is DHing today, is almost ready to go behind the plate following his minor concussion. He expects Montero to catch in KC. Franklin Gutierrez, still recovering from a more serious concussion, is progressing well and will accompany the team on the road trip (as will Erasmo Ramirez, who was scheduled to throw a bullpen today).
“He’s doing good,” Wedge said of Gutierrez. “He had a good look in his eyes last night during the game and responded well. It’s a series of steps coming back from that. I really hope to ramp up his baseball acdtivity in KC, and hopefully we can get him out soon after that, so he can go play a little bit.”
Wedge also said that he continues to see progress with Justin Smoak, and was emphatic when asked if Smoak should give up switch-hitting.
“Not with him at all. I don’t think so. There’s no question in my mind he’s a switch-hitter. When he gets it, he’s going to do it from both sides, and do it with some strength and damage.”

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins, Hisashi Iwakuma

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