04/27/12 7:10 PM ET
Ackley bats first in series opener
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Wedge said the Figgins decision was based on his "tough matchup" with Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero. Figgins is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts against Romero in his career.
Wedge also seems interested in seeing more of Ackley in the leadoff role, as well, after he went 3-for-6 with three RBIs in that slot in Wednesday's 9-1 victory in Detroit.
"I think he's pretty comfortable there because he's done it quite a bit for the short period of time he's been in pro ball," Wedge said.
Ackley said one thing he learned in that role in the Minor Leagues is that he needs to remain his own hitter and not try to take a lot of pitches or try a different approach just because he's batting first.
"I think that's what really got me in trouble in the Minor Leagues," Ackley said. "I was thinking, 'OK, should I be like a leadoff hitter and see a bunch of pitches and do this or do that?' But I think I'm a guy who sees a lot of pitches anyway.
"I'm just going to try to take the same approach I would in the two-hole, three-hole, five-hole. I'm up there looking for something to hit early and if I don't get it, I'll work the count. If not, get something to hit early and try to square something up."
Liddi to see time in the outfield
TORONTO -- Rookie Alex Liddi was back in the lineup for a fifth straight game on Friday as manager Eric Wedge continued taking a long look at the youngster from Italy.
Liddi is 7-for-17 over his last four games with two home runs and four RBIs and Wedge said he'd get a shot in the outfield at some point after playing only first and third base thus far in the season.
Liddi has been tracking balls and taking some flies in the outfield in batting practice recently, though he was at third base again on Friday in place of Kyle Seager.
"At some point in time, we'll have him out there in left field," Wedge said. "He goes all over the place. First, second, short, third and he's been in the outfield, too."
At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Liddi is a large 23-year-old with some impressive power. But Wedge said he's versatile enough to play in the outfield.
"You see him on the basepaths," Wedge said. "He can steal a base for you. He cuts corners well, he's a good worker and, for his size, he's very athletic.
"I just keep saying, his whole game is shorter [this year]. His actions at third are shorter and more crisp and I think you see the same thing at home plate."
But the Mariners are also high on Seager, who is hitting .267 with one home run and seven RBIs in 60 at-bats. He'll be back in the lineup Saturday against Blue Jays right-hander Brandon Morrow.
"I talked with Seager. I wanted to play him yesterday and today, too," said Wedge. "But you can only throw nine out there and we've got other things going on with other players we've got to navigate through right now. But we'll have him back out there tomorrow. He understands that.
"I was looking to give him a couple days anyway, just because he was starting to get a little long [with his swing]. This gives him a chance to work on it. Plus we've got other guys getting it done, so you ride that a little bit and give them some opportunities. Especially when you're talking about younger players that have an ability to gain some confidence like a lot of these guys have the last couple days."
Gutierrez still ailing; Carp near end of rehab
TORONTO -- Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who has been out for two months with a partially torn pectoral muscle, now is being slowed by soreness in his heel as he continues working in extended spring training in Arizona.
Manager Eric Wedge said Gutierrez has been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, an injury in the heel that has been bothering him the last few days. The issue can be treated with orthotics in the shoes, but often is a nagging injury that takes time to fully eliminate.
It's just the latest health problem for the 2010 Gold Glove winner, who is trying to get healthy enough to go out on a Minor League rehab stint and remains at least three to four weeks from returning. Gutierrez missed half of last season with a digestive issue and then a torn oblique muscle.
"We're still working on everything with him," Wedge said. "The arm and swing have been really good, but the heel is bothering him a little bit. So we're trying to figure out how to navigate through that."
Meanwhile, left fielder Mike Carp remains on his Minor League rehab stint with Triple-A Tacoma as he returns from a sprained shoulder suffered on Opening Day in Tokyo. Carp has struggled at the plate in his 10-game rehab stint, but did get his first hit in a week in a 1-for-5 outing Thursday in Las Vegas.
Carp can only stay on the Minor League rehab for 20 days, a period that ends on Thursday.
"We'll give him time," Wedge said. "You've only got 20 days down there anyway and he's rapidly approaching that. If we can give him the time he needs to get a little further along with his swing and, more importantly, with his arm, we're going to do it."
Carp played first base on Thursday and Wedge said he'd like to see back-to-back games in the outfield to know that the arm is fully recovered.
• Toronto is the only American League team that Ichiro has not hit a home run against in his career. Going into Friday's game, he had 402 at-bats in 92 games against the Blue Jays without a bomb. There are seven National League teams that Ichiro has yet to go deep against.
• Friday's game in the Rogers Centre was the first of seven straight on artificial turf for the Mariners as they play three in Toronto before heading to Tampa Bay. The Mariners were 0-6 on turf last year and haven't had a winning record on the surface since going 10-5 in '03. They did split a pair of games in the Tokyo Dome against the A's to open this season.
• The Mariners had committed just three errors in their previous 14 games going into Friday's contest and had just seven for the season, tied for the second fewest in the Majors.
• Reliever Lucas Luetge has not allowed an earned run in his first eight Major League appearances, the first Mariner since Mark Lowe to start his career with that many scoreless appearances. Luetge had thrown 5 1/3 innings through Thursday. Lowe went 17 2/3 shutout innings over 13 games in 2006.