08/02/12 12:15 AM ET
Furbush, Gutierrez continue to make progress
By Josh Liebeskind / MLB.com
Thames homers in Mariners debut
SEATTLE -- Eric Thames, who was traded to the Mariners on Monday, made his Seattle debut on Wednesday, starting in left field and batting eighth.Thames' first game with his new club came against the Blue Jays club that dealt him, and he made an immediate impact, hitting a game-tying two-run homer in the fifth inning for his first Seattle hit.
The Blue Jays drafted Thames in the seventh round in 2008, and Thames appeared in a combined 141 games with them over the past two seasons.
The outfielder knows the adjustment will take some time, and he's glad to get the process under way.
"I just want to get the first few games out of the way so I can just get used to ... the new team and everything," Thames said. "It's weird just because everybody I went up the system with is somewhere else. I don't know many of these guys, besides yesterday meeting all of them and guys in the Fall League."It's no pressure, [though], it's just go out there and play hard and help the team win, and guys respect that. That's how team unity's built."
Mariners' spirits rise as wins pile up
SEATTLE -- The wins are piling up for the Mariners, and you can bet they're having fun.The Mariners, who took a six-game winning streak into Wednesday's series finale against the Blue Jays, have come out on top in 12 of their last 16 games and have won four of their last five series. This all coming from a team that has occupied the cellar of the American League West for the majority of the year. "We've just been happy, just trying to score runs, trying to play hard baseball and it's fun," Felix Hernandez said. "It's kind of contagious. We're just playing together and we're doing the little things. We're winning games." Winning makes it easier to have fun, and having fun makes winning easier. As the club has success, bonds grow between teammates, Dustin Ackley said. "Everybody really enjoys everybody else," Ackley said. "I think when you have that chemistry, I think that really helps. That might be hard to believe, but I think when everybody's got that feeling of, 'OK, if I don't get it done, the next guy's going to get it done,' and that kind of mentally. I think that's where we're at right now. The benefits are showing up on the field, but it's also visible in the clubhouse. The team held a beer shower for Brendan Ryan after he finally climbed over the Mendoza line on Tuesday, the hoots and hollers echoing down the hallway.
Mariners starters, who are are 9-1 with a 1.69 ERA in their last 13 starts, produced 2.73 ERA in July. The mark is a club record for any month and was also tops in the Major Leagues. Wedge said there was no particular situation in which he is trying to debut rookie reliever Carter Capps. Wedge said the hard-throwing right-hander's first-career appearance will be dictated by how games play out. Top pitching prospect Danny Hultzen will miss his next turn in the Tacoma rotation, but Wedge said there is nothing physically wrong with the left-hander. "Just trying to manage his innings," Wedge said. "Getting later in the year, it's his first full year. Just trying to manage his innings. We don't have a set plan. He's there pitching, we want him to go out there and pitch at that level and we'll see where it goes." The Mariners had scored in the first or second innings in 14 of the last 16 games entering Wednesday. They are 23-13 this season when scoring in the first frame.
Josh Liebeskind is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.