05/28/12 7:45 PM ET
Barry Switzer drops in on Mariners
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Wedge gives Ackley a breather
ARLINGTON -- Mariners second baseman Dustin Ackley got his second day off in the past four games on Monday, with manager Eric Wedge saying he didn't like the matchup against Texas left-hander Matt Harrison.Ackley is 0-for-15 in his career against Harrison and has been fighting through a slump, his average sitting at .242 as the season nears the one-third mark. "It's just a matchup situation," Wedge said. "And he's still trying to find it. We're trying to put the best lineup out there to win. When this kid throwing against us is on, he's pretty good. So we want to give ourselves the best chance to win today. That's that fine line that you're walking." Ackley, the team's No. 2 overall Draft pick in 2009, said he understood the situation, though he wasn't pleased to be sitting again so soon after getting a day off Friday when Wedge said he was just rotating rest days for his starters through this 20-game stretch with no days off. "I'm just playing it day by day," Ackley said. "I know Harrison is throwing today and I haven't had much success against him. I'm sure that's a lot of the reason. I know [Wedge] likes the matchups a lot and what you've done off guys in the past." Ackley has gone 2-for-19 over his past five starts. He was 0-for-3 with a walk in Sunday's loss to the Angels, but said he swung the bat well. "Yesterday I felt the best I've felt in a long time," he said. "I didn't get any hits, but I felt I had some good at-bats. The ball I hit late in the game to left-center was almost as good as I can hit a ball that way. It was caught, but especially against C.J. Wilson it's tough and I felt I had good at-bats against him. Overall I feel really good right now." As for his struggles against Harrison? "He's just one of those guys that has great stuff," Ackley said. "I think he's one of the most underrated pitchers I've ever faced. He sits mid-90s, he's got good sink on the ball. The ball he throws away cuts a little bit, he's got good offspeed. He's just a guy that is tough on anybody, but against me he's pitched me really well and made it really tough on me. I've maybe had some hard-hit balls that I haven't had any luck out of, but that's the way it goes sometimes." Ackley said the only time in his career he's not started nearly every game was his first season in 2010 in Double-A when he was coming off a long offseason. But while he understands the situation, he's not thrilled with it. "Absolutely not," he said. "I don't think anybody here would say they like it, unless you maybe need a day or are tired or it's September or something like that. But I don't want to sit at all. You can't help the team on the bench. "It's just kind of a helpless feeling, like I could be out there doing this. But that's for the manager to decide and if he feels the matchups are better or I don't do well off this guy, then you've got to stand by that."
Ichiro remains a fixture at No. 3 spot
ARLINGTON -- While Mariners manager Eric Wedge has mixed and matched all sorts of lineups this season and had catcher John Jaso leading off for a second time on Monday, he's had Ichiro Suzuki in the No. 3 spot every game.Wedge said Ichiro could get a day off on the current road trip, but he hasn't been tempted to move him out of the No. 3 spot yet. "Out of respect for him, he's the one true veteran we have in there every day," Wedge said. "I'm still hopeful he can get himself going in that three-hole. With all the young kids we're starting each and every night, we really need him to get it going." What exactly is he hoping to see? "Just more production, more of a run producer for us," Wedge said. Ichiro has the highest batting average on the Mariners at .271 and is tied for fourth in RBIs with 16. His slugging percentage of .369 is sixth on the team. The 38-year-old right fielder is the only Mariners player to have started all 51 games this season, but that streak could well come to an end Wednesday. Wedge often uses a day off before an off day to give a player a two-day break and the Mariners are traveling this Thursday, their first day off in 20 days. Wedge wasn't committing to anything on Monday, but said when he did give Ichiro a day off it would be more than just putting him at designated hitter. "No, it'd be an off-day if we do it," he said. "I haven't talked to him about it yet, but at some point in time I think it might do him good."
• The Mariners came into Monday's game with a 21-11 record on Memorial Day, with their .656 winning percentage the best in baseball on the holiday. The Yankees (91-66, .580) had the second-best Memorial Day mark.• The Mariners had stolen a base in five straight games going into Monday, their longest streak of the season. And the latest swiper was a little unexpected, with Justin Smoak recording just the second stolen base in his career on Sunday. • Ichiro Suzuki had 292 career hits against the Rangers prior to Monday, which is more than any player in MLB history. George Brett totaled 291 hits against the Rangers during his career, and Paul Molitor is third on the list at 254.