CLEVELAND -- Manager Eric Wedge noted on Monday that even among the constant churn in his Mariners lineup, Ichiro Suzuki will remain the leadoff hitter as long as he stays healthy this season.
Ichiro's 35th leadoff homer on Monday moved him into a tie for sixth with Bobby Bonds on the all-time leadoff home run list.
The 37-year-old is now two long balls behind Jimmy Rollins, the only active player ahead of him.
Rickey Henderson is the all-time leader with 81. Behind him is Alfonso Soriano (54), Craig Biggio (53), Brady Anderson (44), Rollins (37) and Ichiro and Bonds at 35.
How far is Ichiro ahead of the pack in regards to franchise history? Joey Cora has the second-most leadoff homers in Mariners history, with five.
As for Ichiro's role this season, Wedge indeed plans to remain consistent with the most consistent player in franchise history, as he attempts a late-season run at an 11th consecutive 200-hit season.
Ichiro is on pace for 181 hits, as his batting average sits at a career-low .269 going into Tuesday's doubleheader.
"I know it's been a fight for him, but he's tried to handle it as best he can," Wedge said. "We're going to continue to give him opportunities at the top of the lineup as we play this out. As long as he's physically able, I think he's earned that."
Ryan makes rare fielding miscues in return
CLEVELAND -- Brendan Ryan normally is one of the best fielding shortstops in the Major Leagues. So it was a bit surprising to see him commit a pair of throwing errors and misplay what could have been a key base hit in the ninth inning of the Mariners' 3-2 win over the Indians on Monday.
Ryan was playing his first game in 19 days after coming off the disabled list with a sprained left shoulder, but he declined to use that as an excuse for committing his 11th and 12th errors of the season.
Ryan pulled first baseman Mike Carp off the bag with two wide throws, one after ranging far to his right on a grounder by Jack Hannahan in the second, and the other after moving well to his left to snare a shot up the middle by Michael Brantley.
The result was a pair of unearned runs against Jason Vargas. Then in the ninth inning, Ryan wasn't charged with an error when pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall scorched a ball up the middle that scooted under Ryan's outstretched glove.
Ryan couldn't help but laugh about the fact that, in his first game back, he seemed like an early target, as the first three Indians hitters ripped balls right at him.
"That's usually great with me, but apparently not this time, sheesh," Ryan said, shaking his head. "But you know, none of them were exactly routine. If I was back in the swing of things, I'd like to make them routine. The three I didn't make were very makeable, I think, but I'm not going to make excuses. I don't know. It's kind of an afterthought now [that the Mariners won]."
Mariners manager Eric Wedge wasn't worried about it, knowing Ryan's ability with the glove.
"Those were balls that were hit hard and not right at him," Wedge said. "He moved around great, just to cut off the first two balls. It looked like the last one didn't come up on him. It stayed down.
"He just yanked the throws a little bit. He hadn't been out there for a while. As the baseball gods would have it, he had about 10 balls come his way, and he hadn't played in two weeks. But he's a heck of a shortstop, and you have to love the way he moves around out there."
The grounder that got past him in the ninth seemed to bother Ryan more than the throwing errors.
"I had it measured, but it did something different, so I should have done something to adjust," he said. "It hit the mound and bounced up, and I thought I had to glove it at that point. I looked at a video and that's a play I'd like to think I make in my sleep. But I don't know what to say. If I say anything, it sounds like I'm making excuses. I missed it."
Prior to the game, Ryan was more worried about swinging the bat than fielding, due to his still-sore shoulder. But he said that he felt OK, despite going 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Ryan did reach base the hard way in the key rally in the top of the ninth, getting hit by closer Chris Perez. The pitch was a little too up and in for his liking.
"I'm glad I still have an Adam's apple," he said. "I've had some close [to the face before]. You have some where you feel like you can smell the baseball, but to almost taste it? I don't want any part of that. That would have taken all my teeth out."
Wedge seeing positive signs for the future
CLEVELAND -- The win-loss record might not yet reflect his optimism, but Mariners skipper Eric Wedge said on Tuesday morning that the club continues to show positive signs that have him feeling good about the future.
The influx of youth is part of the reason, as five rookie position players -- Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, Trayvon Robinson, Casper Wells and Kyle Seager -- have combined to hit .289 with 64 runs, 26 doubles, six triples, 19 home runs and 73 RBIs in 522 at-bats.
Wedge said that he's finally seeing more productive at-bats and, indeed, the young players are setting the tone in that regard.
"That's kind of a dangerous question, but you know what? Yeah, I think they are," Wedge said. "The politically correct answer would be no. But the right answer is yes."
But he's also seen a recent surge from a couple key veterans, including center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who has hit .280 over his last 20 games after a tough first four months.
"I know it's in there with Gut, and that's what I've seen the last two weeks," Wedge said. "And I need to continue to see that. I'm not just looking for a Gold Glove center fielder, I'm looking for a Gold Glove center fielder that can produce at home plate. And he's capable of doing it."
As for the long-term outlook for his club, Wedge believes that quality at-bats and approach are finally being seen in games.
"At some point in time, all these pieces that are all over the place are going to come into line, and that's good," he said. "I just want good baseball, man. That's what I want, and that's what you're going to see eventually. You saw it [Monday] night. That was a great game for us."
Why the positive steps now?
"It's been there all year for me," Wedge said. "But like I've said, where's the last place you see it? On the field. It just takes time. This game is so hard. These guys are so good, it's ridiculous.
"It's like the country music star that says it took me 10 years to become an overnight success. It just takes time. You're in the trenches for a long time. It's everything behind the scenes, it's every day. When they're out they're taking batting practice, it's not eye wash. There's a reason we're out there working before the game.
"So when we're sitting here a year from now or two years from now and you're looking at me like, 'How did all this happen?', reflect back to today. That's the way it works."
Cortes to DL with left ankle bruise
CLEVELAND -- Mariners rookie reliever Dan Cortes, removed from the opening game of Tuesday's doubleheader after injuring his ankle in Seattle's 7-5 loss to the Indians, was placed on the 15-day disabled list later in the day to open a roster spot for left-handed pitcher Anthony Vasquez.
Vasquez was selected from Triple-A Tacoma in order to make his Major League debut in the second game of the twin bill.
The Mariners also asked for release waivers for third baseman Matt Mangini in order to add Vasquez to their 40-man roster. Mangini, 25, is hitting .336 for Triple-A Tacoma. He'd been on leave from the Rainiers recently.
The Mariners said Cortes was hobbled by a left ankle bruise originally suffered in a play at the plate on Sunday in Tampa Bay.
Cortes had two outs and two on, both via walks, in the seventh inning of Tuesday's opener when assistant trainer Rob Nodine and manager Eric Wedge went to the mound. Cortes threw two practice pitches before being lifted.
Veteran Jamey Wright, who replaced Cortes, allowed one of his runners to score the go-ahead run and make it 4-3, though right fielder Casper Wells gunned down Shin-Soo Choo going to third on the play to get out of the inning.
Tuesday marked Cortes' ninth appearance of the season for Seattle; he has a 3.48 ERA after allowing a run in his two-thirds of an inning.
"We're going to check him out," Wedge said prior to the roster move. "He came down on it pretty hard there on one of his pitches, so we're going to see where he's at."
Mangini played 11 games last year as a late-season callup for the Mariners, hitting .211 in 38 at-bats.