6/20/2013 9:14 P.M. ET
Ailing Bay a 'day or two' from returning to lineup
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Jason Bay sat out his fourth straight game Thursday, but the Mariners outfielder said an ailing hamstring is nearing full recovery and he hopes to be able to return in a day or two.
"It feels 10 times better today," Bay said prior to the series finale with the Angels."It's the most marked improvement I've had. It was never that bad to begin with, but it's one of those things where you either miss a couple days now or a couple weeks later. The last couple days were stagnant, but today was by far the best day. So hopefully I'm a day or two away."
Bay felt the hamstring tighten on Sunday when he was running to first on a double-play ball in Oakland.
"It's pretty basic hamstring tightness," he said. "Almost 35 doesn't recover as fast as 25 used to, but I feel a lot better today."
Bay is batting .222 with eight home runs and 17 RBIs in 53 games this season, though he's struggled recently while hitting just .180 without a home run over his last 12 games after a two-homer game in Minnesota on June 1.
Michael Morse also was out of the lineup Thursday after playing first base on Wednesday as he continues dealing with a strained right quadriceps.
"He's feeling better, but we've got to get him a little further along before he's ready to be in the outfield," manager Eric Wedge said.
Mariners release veteran catcher Shoppach
ANAHEIM - Kelly Shoppach was released by the Mariners on Thursday, six days after the veteran catcher was designated for assignment.
Shoppach will now go through release waivers and can be claimed by any other Major League club, with teams with the worst records having the first chance to select him. If he's not claimed by Saturday, he'll become a free agent.
Shoppach was designated for assignment last Friday in order to make room for Henry Blanco, a 41-year-old catcher who was released by the Blue Jays earlier in the week.
Shoppach, 33, hit .196 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 35 games after signing a one-year, $1.5 million contract to be the Mariners' backup catcher in the spring. The nine-year veteran is a career .224 hitter in 571 games with the Red Sox, Indians, Rays, Mets and Mariners.
Blanco hit a grand slam in his first appearance for the Mariners, a 4-0 victory in Oakland on Saturday, and made his second start in Thursday's series finale in Anaheim.
Wednesday's loss is first of its kind in 30 years
ANAHEIM -- When the Mariners fell to the Angels on Wednesday night, it was the first time since 1983 that Seattle lost a 1-0 game in which the only run scored on a wild pitch.
The Angels beat Joe Saunders when Mike Trout crossed home plate in the sixth inning on a pitch in the dirt that bounced off the chest of catcher Mike Zunino.
But it turns out, Saunders was no stranger to that rare situation. The last Major League game that ended 1-0 with the only run coming on a wild pitch was April 2, 2008, when Saunders was the winning pitcher for the Angels as Howie Kendrick scored on Nick Blackburn's misfire in Minnesota.
Saunders was kicking himself for Wednesday's wild pitch, but recognized it was just part of the game as he threw a low 1-2 offering trying to get Mark Trumbo to chase something out of the zone.
"It was a change down," he said. "I was trying to get him to hit it on the ground or swing and miss, but it just took a funny hop off Zuni's chest and got away a little bit too much. Just one of those unfortunate things."
Trumbo followed with a base hit, so Trout likely would have scored anyway. Manager Eric Wedge said Zunino, catching his sixth Major League game, has been excellent behind the plate.
"Mike has done a nice job blocking the ball," Wedge said. "That one got away from him a little bit. But who's to say what would have happened anyway."
• Dustin Ackley went 3-for-4 with a walk and four runs scored while playing center field for Triple-A Tacoma in a 16-4 win at Colorado Springs on Wednesday. The 2009 first-round Draft pick is now hitting .400 with a .505 on-base percentage in 20 games since being sent down.
• Franklin Gutierrez was 2-for-6 with two runs scored while playing right field for Tacoma as he continued his second rehab stint. Gutierrez, out since April 23 with a strained hamstring, has batted .222 with a .390 OBP in 21 games. He's eligible to return from the 60-day disabled list on Saturday.
• Tacoma right-hander Brandon Maurer was removed from Wednesday's game after one inning due to back stiffness. Maurer had given up four hits and two runs, with his ERA now 2.41 after four starts.
• DJ Peterson, Seattle's 2013 first-round Draft pick, went 0-for-3 with a walk in his debut for Class A Everett on Wednesday. Justin Seager, the 12th-round pick and younger brother of Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager, was expected to make his first start Thursday after being sidelined by a blood infection in his wrist and arm that cropped up after he signed.