07/06/11 9:35 PM ET
Seager promoted to be starting third baseman
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Seager, 23, hit .455 in 12 games since being promoted to Tacoma two weeks ago with four doubles, two home runs and 12 RBIs.
The Mariners, sitting in third place in the American League West at 43-44 despite the lowest batting average and run production in the league, are looking for some offensive help to bolster an outstanding pitching staff.
Seager becomes the latest newcomer to a team that already has brought up rookie position players Dustin Ackley, Carlos Peguero, Greg Halman, Mike Carp and Mike Wilson this season, though Carp and Wilson have since returned to Tacoma.
"He's a line-drive hitter who sprays the ball all over the place," Zduriencik said. "He's a mature kid who understands the strike zone and has hit everywhere he's been. We're not expecting miracles, but he's a guy who deserves a shot."
Seager has split time between second and third base with the Rainiers, but will focus on third with Seattle since Ackley has established himself at second base since his own arrival three weeks ago.
Seager and Ackley were college teammates at North Carolina and were selected in the same Draft in 2009, with Ackley the second overall pick and Seager going in the third round.
Seager's arrival again changes the landscape for veteran Adam Kennedy, who moved from second to third after Ackley's call-up. Kennedy, 35, has been one of Seattle's most consistent hitters at .264 with six home runs and 28 RBIs and will continue to have a place in the lineup.
"Adam can play four positions: DH, first, second and third," Zduriencik said. "With young kids at two of those spots, he'll get time there and he can also rest [Justin] Smoak sometimes at first. Adam isn't a guy you run out there seven days a week at his age. But he's been wonderful and he'll be a big part of what we're going to be doing."
To make room on the 40-man roster, Seattle designated catcher Jose Yepez for assignment. Yepez, 30, spent a week with the Mariners, but never got into a game as he was called up as insurance for the injured Miguel Olivo and Chris Gimenez.
The move for Seager came shortly after Seattle dropped a 2-0 decision to the A's, managing just two hits as their record fell to 43-44 despite another strong pitching performance from Jason Vargas.
Seager will join the team on Thursday in Anaheim, where the Mariners open a four-game series against the Angels.
Before his promotion to Tacoma, Seager hit .312 with 25 doubles, four home runs and 37 RBIs in 66 games with Double-A Jackson.
Seager, a left-handed batter, hit .345 with Class A High Desert last year, racking up the most hits of any Minor League player in the country with 192 in 135 games.
His arrival would seem to indicate even less playing time for Chone Figgins, who has seen his role diminish since Ackley's addition. Figgins did play third base on Wednesday, with Kennedy at DH, but went 0-for-2 and committed an error as his batting average dropped to .183.
Wright saves the day in his 500th contest
OAKLAND -- Mariners reliever Jamey Wright has pitched for 10 teams over 16 seasons in the Majors, but he won't soon forget Tuesday night's one-inning appearance against the A's.
Pitching in his 500th career game, the 36-year-old picked up his first big league save with a perfect 10th inning in Seattle's 4-2 victory. The only Major League pitcher who ever had more appearances before his first save was Frank Tanana, who waited 530 games before notching his first and only save of a 21-year career in 1990 with the Tigers.
Wright proudly hung on to the ball afterward, the first memento he's savored since his 200th career start back in 2005.
"Before that, maybe my first big league hit, which was a long, long, long time ago," he said of his rare souvenir moments.
What does pitching in 500 games mean to him?
"Perseverance," Wright said. "That's the first word that comes to mind. Just work hard and good things happen. I'm just excited to be part of this team. It's a good group of guys and I just hope we finish up this first half strong, get a little rest and get ready for that second half."
Wright is having a blast pitching in a key role for a contending team, which is why he was especially savoring the ball someone fetched for him after the final out of his first save.
As a guy who started 246 games earlier in his career, Wright has filled a lot of roles. He's never been a closer, but he's emerged as a quality setup man for manager Eric Wedge this season and that's why the skipper brought him on in the 10th on Tuesday.
"There wasn't a lot of nerves out there," Wright said. "Just OK, when we went to that extra inning I was ready to go. I haven't pitched in a while. Bullpen innings have been tough to come by for the Seattle Mariners lately. Starters are doing such a good job, so I was excited to get in there."
Now if he can just rack up another save without waiting quite so long ...
"I'm going to try mix in two in before I get to 1,000," he said with a grin.
Fourth-rounder Hicks signs with Mariners
OAKLAND -- Catcher John Hicks, a fourth-round Draft pick out of the University of Virginia, became the highest Mariners selection to sign with the club, the team announced on Wednesday.
Hicks, a three-year starter at Virginia, will report on Friday to the Mariners' Class A team in Clinton (Iowa) in the Midwest League.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound junior started all 68 games for Virginia this past season, including 56 at catcher. He hit .332 with 52 runs scored, eight home runs and 59 RBIs. In 195 career games, he batted .316 with 24 home runs and 146 RBIs.
The native of Sandy Hook, Va., threw out 42 percent of attempted base stealers in his Cavaliers career as well.
Hicks was a college teammate of left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen, the Mariners' No. 1 selection and the second overall pick in the 2011 Draft. The two played in the College World Series for Virginia and were among eight players drafted off that squad.
Seattle has now signed 32 of its 51 picks, though eight of the top 10 remain unsigned.
Gutierrez goes extra mile in Mariners' win
OAKLAND -- Of all the good things that happened in the Mariners' winning rally to beat Oakland, 4-2, in 10 innings on Tuesday, none might have been bigger than center fielder Franklin Gutierrez's go-ahead run after he came through with a leadoff single against A's closer Andrew Bailey.
Gutierrez has been struggling mightily in recent weeks and his batting average was down to .178 as he stepped to the plate in a tie game in the 10th, having been challenged by manager Eric Wedge a day earlier to put his problems behind him and start contributing a much-needed presence in the lineup.
Gutierrez snapped an 0-for-15 streak with a base hit, stole second (his third steal of the season) and then scored the winning run on a throwing error by Oakland shortstop Cliff Pennington.
"Gutierrez had his best at-bat of the year," Wedge said. "That's the type of at-bat that can get you going against a good pitcher with good stuff and a lot on the line."
Felix Hernandez knows how critical it is to get his Gold Glove center fielder back on track at the plate.
"That was good because he needs more confidence," said Hernandez. "We need Guti in this lineup. If he keeps doing like he did there, it's going to be good."
Olivo makes grade in return behind plate
OAKLAND -- Miguel Olivo doesn't know if A's manager Bob Melvin was testing him or not in his first game back from a six-day absence with a sore hamstring, but the Mariners catcher threw out three would-be base stealers on Tuesday to tie his career high and help Seattle to a 4-2 victory.
Olivo gunned down A's speedster Coco Crisp in a key situation in the bottom of the ninth, as the Oakland center fielder tried to get into scoring position for the go-ahead run with one out in a 2-2 tie.
Interestingly, the only other time Olivo threw out three runners in a game was the exact same date (July 5) eight years earlier in 2003 while with the White Sox. Only six previous Mariners catchers have thrown out three runners in the same game.
Manager Eric Wedge said he doesn't know if the A's were testing Olivo, "but if they were, he passed," said the skipper.
Olivo feels it was coincidental to his recent injury.
"I don't know. It was my leg, not my arm [that was hurt]," Olivo said. "My arm feels the same. But they have fast guys and they run."
As for his hamstring, Wedge held Olivo out of Wednesday afternoon's game as planned after bringing the 32-year-old back the night before.
Wedge said the throw to nail Crisp was as good as it gets.
"I don't think you can do any better," Wedge said. "The way he runs, pretty good jump, good base stealer ... that was a big save for us right there because we've got to have a chance to keep playing. That was big."
Olivo lobbied Wedge to be back in the lineup on Wednesday, but lost that battle. He understands the caution, but says he's ready.
"I just need to get my speed back. But I feel great," Olivo said. "They're taking it easy on me and [Josh] Bard is playing good. They're going to hold me back a little bit. But after the All-Star break, I should be full speed."
Jose Yepez, a third catcher who is yet to play since being called up a week ago from Tacoma, remained on the roster for Wednesday's game. Wedge said he would talk to general manager Jack Zduriencik after the game to make a decision on whether to send Yepez back down and bring up an extra player elsewhere.
Ichiro's two hits on Tuesday raised his career total against Oakland to 270, one behind George Brett for the second most of any player since 1968. Rod Carew has the most hits in that span against the A's with 282.
Felix Hernandez had 10 strikeouts with no walks on Tuesday, his second double-digit strikeout day without a base on balls this season. He's the only pitcher in the Majors to pull that off twice this year. The last Seattle pitcher to do that twice in a season was Randy Johnson, who did it three times in '95.
When Miguel Olivo threw out three runners on Tuesday, he became the seventh catcher in Mariners history to pull that feat in a game. The others were Bob Kearney (four times), Dave Valle (twice), Jamie Nelson, Rick Sweet and Jerry Narron. Olivo threw out three runners once before in '03 while with the White Sox.
Closer David Aardsma threw 35 pitches in the bullpen on Tuesday as he continues working toward a possible return.