Here’s the latest on Michael Saunders, who sprained the AC joint of his right shoulder crashing into the wall in the first inning: He still has to be re-examined by team doctor Edward Khalfayan, but manager Eric Wedge confirmed he’ll miss time.
“It’s a matter of how much time,” Wedge said. “It could be a DL situation, but we’re working through everything right now.”
Saunders, remember, had surgery on his right shoulder in 2008 while in the minors. I asked Wedge if he held some hope still that the DL could be avoided.
“Some hope,” he replied, but not too convincingly.
It’s too bad, because Saunders appears on the verge of taking the next step toward becoming one of the better players in the league with a rare combination of speed and power. On the hopeful side, Wedge said this: “Michael’s a hard-nose player, and that was a heck of a play. But we all saw he hit that fence hard. Hopefully, it’s nothing too serious. I don’t think it is.’’
Saunders’ injury comes on the same day the Mariners lost one of their outfield options, Casper Wells, claimed off waivers by Toronto. This will be a good test of the Mariners’ decision to keep Jason Bay over Wells, because Bay figures to see more playing time now, as does Raul Ibanez. And if Saunders lands on the DL, they have three viable options in Tacoma for a callup: Endy Chavez, who is hitting .429; Eric Thames, who is even better at .464; or Carlos Peguero, who is at .323 and had three hits tonight, including a homer and double (Mike Zunino picked up his 17th RBI, by the way, in Tacoma’s 7-4 win over Sacramento, the go-ahead single in the seventh).
It was an altogether depressing night for the Mariners, who suffered the indignity of losing a series to the Astros — at home, no less. Well, at least they still have 16 more games with Houston to clean up on those alleged “easy wins.” But you’re not going to win many games when your pitchers give up 37 hits in two games. Nor when you have four hitters in the lineup — Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, and Jesus Montero (who sat out Wednesday) hitting a combined .135 (17-for-126). The latter three are still looking for their first extra-base-hit, and the four have a combined five RBIs.
It’s too soon to write them off, of course, but they don’t have forever to get thing going. The Mariners have centered a lot of their hopes on those guys, but so far they are struggling mightily. And right now, so are the Mariners.