07/04/12 8:19 PM ET
Mariners, O's don special caps for Fourth
By Josh Liebeskind / MLB.com
With the 30 Major League teams' flags replaced by American flags in the outfield and a large flag spread across the outfield by the 593rd Special Troops Battalion, U.S. Army Sergeant Corrin Campbell sang the national anthem.
Campbell has been in the U.S. Army for five years, but has also led a double life as a singer. She has performed for troops in Iraq and opened for Ted Nugent and Toby Keith on their USO tour through Baghdad.
"It's a remarkable gathering of all of us," Campbell said. "No matter where we stand politically, socially, economically, we all come together and remember that 267 years ago or whatever it was, we were able to decide a conscious way to live our lives."
Montero hit by foul, sustains mild concussion
SEATTLE -- Mariners catcher Jesus Montero left Wednesday's game against the Orioles in the fifth inning with a mild concussion after taking a foul ball off the facemask.
With one out in the fifth, Robert Andino fouled a pitch off the forehead section of Montero's mask, who immediately staggered backward. Montero knelt behind home plate and talked with a trainer and manager Eric Wedge before carefully walking off the field. Miguel Olivo replaced Montero.
"It happens, it happens to every catcher," Montero said. "It was a good impact around my face and I was feeling dizzy. They took me out just to make sure, but thank God nothing happened."
Montero admitted he still felt a bit dizzy after the game, but said he should be fine.
Wedge added that it wasn't similar to the concussion outfielder Franklin Gutierrez is dealing with that landed him on the seven-day disabled list, but Montero will be reevaluated Thursday.
The 22-year-old backstop is hitting .245 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs this season, his first with the Mariners, but is just 3-for-26 on the current homestand.
Wedge to stick with youth movement for now
SEATTLE -- As the young Mariners offense continues to struggle, manager Eric Wedge said he believes, for the most part, the best thing for the players is to work through the problems at the big league level and not at Triple-A.
That comes even as the Mariners carried the second-worst batting average (.232) in the American League into Wednesday's finale against the Orioles. Additionally, they're hitting just .198 through 40 contests at Safeco Field.
"If I felt like that was the best thing for them, then I would have already done it," Wedge said. "It does not mean that ... we won't do it, but we don't feel like that that's where we're at right now. There's multiple reasons to send a guy out, but ultimately what the bottom line for me is, what's going to get the young man to be the big league hitter or player as quickly as possible? What's the best path for that?
"I'm always willing to ride it out, if that's best for them. Nobody is beyond being sent out, we just don't feel like it's been the right time this point in time just yet."
Nights like Tuesday, when the Mariners were no-hit through 6 1/3 innings before fighting back to tie the score late, can help carry the team in the right direction, Wedge said. With just one hit and one run through seven innings, the Mariners scored three times in the eighth to even the game.
"It was big for us to be so far out of it -- even though the score wasn't as such -- to be able to not just get the hit and score the run, but to fight back ... and tie it up," Wedge said.
"Of course it's not fun, but it's part of it, it's baseball," said Justin Smoak, who was 4-for-28 on the current homestand entering Wednesday. "The more you have good at-bats, the more you square balls up right at people, the more chance there is the ball's going to get through.
"It's something you have to keep doing, keep having those at-bats, keep having those swings. You're batting for good things to happen."
Wells' hot hitting creating potential outfield logjam
SEATTLE -- If offensive production has been spotty for the Mariners, then it seems the outfield hasn't gotten the memo.
Casper Wells is the one to complicate things, as he has been red-hot since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on June 13. With Michael Saunders batting .306 with four home runs and nine RBIs since May 28 and veteran Ichiro Suzuki firmly entrenched in right field and the leadoff spot, that will provide a slight predicament when former Gold Glove winner Franklin Gutierrez comes off the disabled list after the All-Star break.
Gutierrez was one of the team's most reliable hitters after originally coming off the disabled list, batting in the two-hole for a struggling Mariners offense. He was placed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion on June 29.
"We'll be able to utilize [the DH] role," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "One thing that you've seen, if in time -- it may be a short period of time -- if guys are getting it done, we'll find a way to get them in there. That's what we're doing with Casper right now and when Gut comes back, we'll still find a way to get him in there."
Wells' performance at the plate has come from a much-needed stint in Tacoma. On Monday the outfielder had a bases-clearing, go-ahead double, and then broke up Tuesday's perfect game in the seventh inning on a home run. Wells has credited a gain in confidence as a large reason in his recent success, but Wedge is impressed with what he's done fundamentally.
"What you see mechanically, that's real," Wedge said. "If he's up here doing the same thing he was doing prior and having success ... you're not too sure about it. But when you see him slow it down, be in a better position, being in a stronger position to hit, that's something you can sink your teeth into."
The Mariners entered Wednesday's rubber match with the Orioles having lost or tied seven consecutive series.
Since being recalled from Tacoma, reliever Oliver Perez has a 1.04 ERA in six games. The veteran made his first Major League appearance this season since 2010.
Reliever Charlie Furbush allowed a ninth-inning home run on Tuesday to snap his scoreless streak at 22 2/3 innings. It was the third-longest streak by a Mariners reliever. Closer Tom Wilhelmsen is tied for fifth on the list with an active scoreless streak of 19 2/3 innings.
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.