06/28/12 9:50 PM ET
Wedge: Mariners need to embrace Safeco Field
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
The Mariners are batting .202 with a .581 OPS while averaging 2.9 runs in 34 home games going into Thursday's series opener with the Red Sox. On the road, they've hit .259 with a .730 OPS while averaging 4.7 runs in 43 games.
"You have to understand this is where we play, this is our home field and we're going to play here half the season," Wedge said. "You just have to be accepting of that. It's a beautiful ballpark. Anything that needs to be addressed will be addressed in the offseason with regard to the ballpark.
"But ultimately, you've got to love where you work. And if you want to be the best you can be, and be productive in your work environment, you've got to love coming to work and love coming to the ballpark."
Wedge and his staff have talked to their players about taking the right approach at Safeco and maintaining a positive attitude despite the hitting difficulties.
"It's just a process for these young guys. You can only control what you can control, and as a hitter that's what you do in that batter's box," he said. "Once the ball leaves your bat, it's beyond you. So I want them to just focus on putting up good at-bats, try to go up there and hit the ball as hard as they can as many times as they can, and let the rest take care of itself. That's the message, basically.
"When you can hit, you can hit. There'll be times when you struggle against one team and do well against another. There'll be years when you hit better on the road than you do at home, but once these kids get where they want to, I don't think you'll see the same inconsistency that you've seen in the past."
It's worth noting, of course, that the Mariners aren't the only ones who struggle hitting at Safeco. Seattle's pitching staff has a 3.24 ERA and a .223 opponents' batting average at Safeco this season, compared to a 4.94 ERA and .269 average on the road.
Millwood's groin improving, hopes to make start
SEATTLE -- A day after being removed in the third inning of his start against the A's after feeling pain in his right groin, starter Kevin Millwood threw in the Safeco Field outfield prior to Thursday's game and said everything felt fine.
The Mariners aren't ready to make any pronouncement on whether Millwood will be ready for his next scheduled start, which would be Monday against the Orioles, but he sounded optimistic after testing out the leg and said trainers think it might just be scar tissue breaking up from his prior injury.
"It felt fine," said Millwood, 37. "I didn't feel it at all, which is definitely a positive, but it's also a little confusing. Hopefully it's just some scar tissue and I can get back out there soon."
Millwood originally strained the muscle on June 8, six innings into a no-hitter against the Dodgers. He was removed from that game and his next start was pushed back three days, but he'd been fine until feeling pain in the third inning of Wednesday's start against Oakland.
"I threw three more pitches after that, but it hampered what I was trying to do," said Millwood, who was lifted after 2 2/3 innings. "At the same time, it wasn't as bad as last time."
Manager Eric Wedge said the team is waiting for further doctor reports, but he was encouraged that the injury doesn't seem to be a lingering situation.
Millwood (3-6, 4.00 ERA) said it was frustrating to come out of a game when he felt he was throwing well, having given up just a leadoff home run in what turned out to be a 2-1 loss on a day Seattle allowed just two hits.
The veteran remains hopeful that he won't miss any time after his throwing session went so well Thursday.
"The fact I was able to throw using my legs that much was definitely a positive," he said. "Last time my arm worked fine, but I wasn't able to get off my back leg very well. Today that was fine."
Jimenez, Quiroz named Triple-A All-Stars
SEATTLE -- Tacoma designated hitter Luis Jimenez and catcher Guillermo Quiroz were selected Thursday to represent the Mariners' farm club in the 2012 Triple-A All-Star Game in Buffalo on July 11.
Jimenez and Quiroz will play for the Pacific Coast League squad against the International League All-Stars in the 4 p.m. PT game, which will be broadcast live by MLB Network.
It will be the first Triple-A All-Star Game appearance for both players and the first time Tacoma has had two selections since 2009.
Jimenez, 30, is hitting .325 with 12 home runs, 49 RBIs and a .421 on-base percentage going into Thursday's game. Originally signed by the Athletics as a non-drafted free agent in 1999, he joined the Mariners' organization as a Minor League free agent prior to last season.
Quiroz, 30, is in his 14th season of pro ball and is having a breakthrough offensive year, hitting .325 with nine home runs and 28 RBIs in his first 46 games.
Quiroz played seven games in three different brief stints with the Mariners in 2006, '09 and '10, batting .261 (7-for-23) with two RBIs. He's also spent time in the Majors with the Blue Jays, Rangers and Orioles and has a career average of .208 with two home runs and 28 RBIs in 101 games.
The Mariners' pitching staff had allowed two runs or less in five straight games going into Thursday's game, tying the sixth-longest streak in club history. The franchise record is seven straight, set May 16-22, 2011.
Seattle's catchers were hitting .275 with 13 home runs and a .467 slugging percentage going into Thursday. The slugging percentage is well ahead of the top catchers' mark in franchise history (.429 in 2007) and is third highest in the American League this year behind the Red Sox and White Sox.