9/18/2013 12:24 A.M. ET
Mariners move hot Almonte into leadoff role
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Abraham Almonte has made the most of his opportunity since being called up to the Mariners at the end of August, having reached base safely in all 13 games in which he's had an at-bat. So on Tuesday, Eric Wedge gave him a new opportunity by inserting him into the leadoff role for the first time against the Tigers.
"We've tried to keep him up top when we could, either in that one or two spot, just because he's kind of been an action guy for us," Wedge said. "He's brought a lot of energy and showed us a short game. He's driven the ball, too. It's good to get him up there and let him get some ABs."
Almonte led off quite a bit for Triple-A Tacoma this season, and the 5-foot-9 speedster said he's filled that role much of his life.
"It's good. Most of my career I've hit leadoff, so it's kind of normal for me," Almonte said. "I'll just play the same way I've been playing."
The 24-year-old outfielder hit a home run in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Tigers and now has a hit in 12 of his 13 games and reached base on a walk in his only hitless outing.
The 13-game on-base streak to open his career ties Dustin Ackley for the second-longest in Mariners history, though well behind the franchise record of 47 games by Alvin Davis in 1984.
Almonte joins Ichiro Suzuki (2001) and Carlos Guillen (1998-99) as the only players in club history to begin their career with at least one hit in 12 of their first 13 games with an at-bat.
Almonte was acquired from the Yankees for reliever Shawn Kelley last spring and split most of this season at Double-A Jackson and Triple-A Tacoma. But he has provided a nice infusion of speed and energy into the Mariners' late-season efforts.
"From my first day here, I've felt really comfortable," Almonte said. "There are a lot of players here I know and I feel like family. That's helped a lot. I'm just trying to do my best every day to show what I've got, running, defense, whatever. Every tool that I can show, I'm just trying to put it in the game."
Ibanez plans to return for 2014
DETROIT -- Raul Ibanez has hit a team-leading 28 home runs for the Mariners this year at age 41, and said Tuesday he wants the chance to keep playing again next season.
Ibanez's production has dropped off in the second half this year after hitting 24 homers before the All-Star break. But the veteran outfielder is still batting .252 with 63 RBIs in 116 games this season and remains one of the team's best clutch hitters.
"Yeah, I want to play another year," Ibanez said prior to Tuesday's game against the Tigers. "It's not something I really dwell upon. It's not something I mull over and lose sleep over, because I'm in the moment right now. But yeah, if you asked me right now, I definitely want to play another year."
Ibanez is on a one-year, $2.75 million contract with Seattle and will be a free agent at year's end.
Ibanez, one of the hardest workers on the team, said health hasn't been an issue for him.
"Physically, I feel I can play for -- I don't want to sound wrong -- but kind of 'til I want to physically," Ibanez said. "Mentally, it's a grind and that part becomes harder as you get older. Staying locked in for six months in a row becomes harder. But I feel I can play this game physically for awhile, I guess. That doesn't mean I will, but I feel like I can."
Whenever he does call it quits, he doesn't want or expect a retirement tour like former Yankees teammate Mariano Rivera has received this year.
"I don't think I'd get the reception Mariano has," Ibanez said with a laugh. "He deserves it. No, I'd just kind of want to leave the way I came in, kind of quietly."
Ibanez, who homered in the fourth inning of Tuesday's 6-2 loss to the Tigers, now has 299 career home runs and is one shy of Ted Williams' record of 29 for a player age 41 or older in a single season.
"Of course, it would be a cool thing," he said. "But it's not something you can think about. You just have to go out and put at-bats together. If you think about home runs, it just doesn't work that way. It doesn't happen. I'm going to try to fill up the ballpark with singles and see what happens."
Minor Leaguer Snow suspended 50 games
DETROIT -- Forrest Snow, a Minor League pitcher in the Mariners organization, received a 50-game suspension without pay on Tuesday after a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Snow, a 6-foot-6 right-hander out of Seattle's Lakeside High School, was 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA in 19 games for Triple-A Tacoma this season. He split time between Tacoma and Double-A Jackson, where he was 1-5 with a 3.00 ERA in 23 relief appearances.
Snow, 24, was a 36th-round selection in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He is currently listed on Tacoma's roster.
The suspension will be effective at the start of the 2014 season.
• Shortstop Brad Miller sat out his third straight game on Tuesday with a mild left hamstring strain and Wedge said the rookie likely won't return until this weekend's series against the Angels at the earliest.
• Mariners reliever Tom Wilhelmsen, who took a line drive off his calf in Monday's game, didn't suffer any damage and was available for Tuesday's contest.
• Left-hander Joe Saunders leads the American League with 26 ground into double plays after recording two twin killings in Monday's 4-2 loss to the Tigers.