Mariners notebook: Saunders in lineup for return vs. Indians

Jun 27, 2014, 4:28 PM | Updated: Jul 14, 2014, 10:27 am

mariners indians 627

The Mariners are one step closer to a potential roster logjam, as outfielder Michael Saunders has rejoined the team and is in the lineup for the first time since a shoulder injury took him out of action on June 10.

Saunders, who will play right field and hit seventh in the series opener against Cleveland and starter Trevor Bauer, showed no signs that his shoulder will continue to be an issue while on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma. In five games with the Rainiers, the 27-year-old hit .450 (9-for-20) with a homer, triple, two doubles, seven RBIs and five runs scored.

The Mariners have been on a tear in Saunders’ absence, winning eight of their 11, and manager Lloyd McClendon wasn’t about to make any major changes to his lineup even with Saunders back in the mix. As a result, Endy Chavez and James Jones remain in the top 2 spots of the order.

“I think having him in the 7-hole obviously gives us a deeper lineup. Endy and Jones have been doing a good job up top. Makes sense,” McClendon said.

To make room for Saunders, Seattle sent down first baseman/DH Jesus Montero, who had four hits in just 15 at-bats in his latest stint with the big club.

Saunders is the first of three regulars who were rehabbing with Tacoma to make it back to Seattle; first baseman Justin Smoak and outfielder/DH Corey Hart both remain with the Rainiers. Things will certainly get interesting sooner rather than later, as the recent surge of Logan Morrison and continued success of Jones mean the Mariners are quickly running out of starting spots in the order.


• McClendon said the team still hasn’t decided on a starting pitcher for Monday’s game at Houston. With Erasmo Ramirez back in the minors and Brandon Maurer looking impressive in the bullpen, a call-up for Taijuan Walker from Triple-A seems to be the most likely scenario but is by no means a sure thing. Walker is coming off a four-hit shutout on Tuesday against Oklahoma City. He walked just one in the complete-game effort, and more importantly he reached 109 pitches.

James Paxton is scheduled for another bullpen session today, according to McClendon. He is nearing 11 weeks since he first injured his lat.

• Cleveland hits town with a 38-40 record and is 5-5 in its last 10 games.

No starting pitcher.

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Areas Of Fog then Mostly Sunny
High 74° | Low 54°
No game today.

Seattle Mariners

Mariners Mitch Haniger...
Shannon Drayer

Drayer’s Mariners Notebook: Excitement, not nerves, evident for M’s in Toronto

From the ground in Toronto, Mariners insider Shannon Drayer shares what she learned from the players, who had an optional workout Thursday, and more notes.
20 hours ago
Mariners Andres Munoz...
Brandon Gustafson

Mariners-Blue Jays a battle of strengths with Seattle’s arms and Toronto’s bats

The Blue Jays' strength is their hitting and the Mariners' strength is their pitching. Brandon Gustafson provides some numbers on the matchup.
20 hours ago
Mariners Logan Gilbert...
Brandon Gustafson

How Mariners’ starting rotation looks for Wild Card round vs Blue Jays

The Mariners have announced their current plan for the starting rotation against the Blue Jays in the best-of-three Wild Card round.
20 hours ago
Joe Fann

Fann: Emotionally preparing for 1st Mariners playoff series in 21 years

With the Mariners set to play postseason baseball for the first time since 2001, Joe Fann shares how he's feeling emotionally about this year.
20 hours ago
Mariners Luis Castillo...
Mike Lefko

The defining factors in Wild Card series between Mariners and Blue Jays

Wyman & Bob's Mike Lefko dives into the defining factors of the Mariners' series with Toronto, with help from Jeff Passan and Gary Hill Jr.
20 hours ago
Mariners Julio Rodríguez...
The Associated Press

Mariners roll into playoffs after 5-4 walk-off win over Tigers

Julio Rodríguez hit his 28th home run, Ty France hit a game-ending single and the Mariners capped the regular season with a 5-4 win over the Detroit Tigers.
2 days ago
Mariners notebook: Saunders in lineup for return vs. Indians