6/30/2013 4:30 P.M. ET
J. Saunders gets called to the plate in a pinch
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- Veteran left-hander Joe Saunders took a look at the Mariners' lineup card posted on the clubhouse wall Sunday and expressed mock indignation.
"I'm not in there today?" he said with a laugh, having gotten the call as a pinch-hitter in the 11th inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Cubs when the Mariners ran out of position players and had to forfeit their designated hitter position due to a run of circumstances.
Saunders, now a .135 career hitter, was the best-hitting pitcher available in manager Eric Wedge's mind, and was thus sent to the plate with two outs in the 11th. He flew out to left-center, while becoming the first Mariners pitcher to get an at-bat in a non-National League city since Mike Schooler hit in the 13th inning at Boston on Aug. 11, 1990.
The only other Mariners pitchers to play under American League rules were Mike Moore at Oakland on April 24, 1987, and Brian Holman at Oakland on April 20, 1990. The four pitchers are now a combined 0-for-4.
Saunders had gone 0-for-2 in an Interleague game at San Diego earlier this season, and the pitchers actually took batting practice on Friday in preparation for next week's Interleague series in Cincinnati.
"I was fine," Saunders said. "But 92-mph is a little different than BP."
Thames traded to Orioles for Minors infielder Kelly
SEATTLE -- Mariners outfielder Eric Thames was traded to the Orioles on Sunday for Minor League infielder Ty Kelly after being designated for assignment last week.
Thames, 26, played 40 games for Seattle last year after being acquired from the Blue Jays for reliever Steve Delabar in July, but has spent all of this season with Triple-A Tacoma.
He hit .295 with seven home runs and 33 RBIs in 57 games for the Rainiers after batting .220 with six homers and 14 RBIs for the Mariners last year. In 181 Major League games, Thames has hit .250 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs.
Kelly, 24, was hitting .283 with one home run and 47 RBIs in 72 games for the Orioles' Double-A Bowie team. He will report to Tacoma for his first Triple-A stint after batting .283 in five seasons in the Minors.
Kelly ranks second in the Eastern League in runs (51) and doubles (21), is third in walks with 51 and has hit .337 during a 27-game stretch since May 29. Originally selected by the Orioles in the 13th round of the 2009 Draft out of the University of California, Kelly led all Orioles' farmhands last year in hits (154) and total bases (220).
The Orioles optioned Thames to Triple-A Norfolk. He is currently sidelined with a broken bone in his left hand. He was designated for assignment on June 22 when the Mariners needed a 40-man roster spot to activate Franklin Gutierrez from the 60-day disabled list.
Wedge expects Ackley, M. Saunders to return soon
SEATTLE --Dustin Ackley's sprained left thumb wasn't in a cast or any protective covering on Sunday morning, and the newly-converted center fielder said he hopes to be back in a few days when the Mariners play in Texas on Tuesday.
Playing just his second game in the outfield, the former second baseman jammed his thumb when he rolled over on his glove while making a diving attempt at an Alfonso Soriano line drive in the ninth inning of the Mariners' 5-3 loss on Saturday night.
"I think it's more now just getting over the soreness of it," Ackley said Sunday. "Hopefully that's only a couple days. It kind of jammed back when it got caught up under there when my glove went down. Just one of those things where I just have to wait now. I can't do a lot, just ice, and hopefully the off-day will really help things. Maybe after [Monday], I'll be ready to go."
Ackley and fellow center fielder Michael Saunders are both dealing with injuries, as Saunders was spiked on the middle finger of his right hand while diving back to the bag on a pickoff throw by the Cubs on Friday night. With Michael Morse and Franklin Gutierrez already on the disabled list, the Mariners only had three healthy outfielders Sunday with Jason Bay, Endy Chavez and Raul Ibanez.
As of Sunday morning, Saunders hadn't swung a bat or thrown a ball since hurting his finger, but said he was going to test it out before the game and vowed to be ready if needed.
"I'm going to try to do some stuff," Saunders said. "But no matter what, I'll be available."
Manager Eric Wedge said no roster moves were needed, as both Ackley and Saunders are expected back shortly.
"Ack's thumb looks pretty good," he said. "It's still going to be a couple days, but all things considered, it could have been a lot worse. We're trying to figure out what Saunders' availability is right now. He's still getting some treatment and doing some things.
"We just have to stay put with the guys," Wedge said. "When things started happening, we had Brendan Ryan on call. He's played out there before, so just in case."
Ryan, one of the premier defensive shortstops in baseball, played three games in right field for St. Louis during his rookie season in 2008.
• Right-handed reliever Stephen Pryor threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session Sunday as he continues working back from a torn muscle behind his right shoulder. Pryor has been on the 60-day disabled list since April 15.
"He's moving along, but it'll still take some time," said Wedge. "He'll stay here and continue working and when we get back off the road, we'll see where he's at."
• When the Mariners played 10 innings on Friday and 11 on Saturday against the Cubs, it was their first back-to-back extra inning games since Sept. 18-19 against the Orioles. The Mariners' 12 extra-inning games this year are the most in the American League, and they're 5-7 in those contests. The Reds lead the Majors with 13 bonus sessions.