Mariners notebook: Will we see more Saunders?

Apr 6, 2014, 1:26 PM | Updated: Apr 7, 2014, 10:43 am

By Shannon Drayer

OAKLAND, Calif. – Michael Saunders is making his second start in right field. I have received a number of emails, tweets and comments asking why we haven’t seen more Saunders early on. If you were paying attention in spring training this shouldn’t be a surprise. Abraham Almonte is clearly the center fielder for now and with Corey Hart not ready to play in the outfield, the Mariners were taking good looks at others during the spring. Saunders, Stefen Romero and Logan Morrison have all received two starts in right so far. It has been a juggling act for manager Lloyd McClendon.

“Michael’s a tremendous defensive outfielder who can play all three,” McClendon said Sunday morning. “There’s a certain comfort with having him in the outfield. I would be lying to you if I said if I had a chance to DH Morrison or Hart and play Michael in the outfield I would rather do it the other way around. Obviously it gives us the best defensive outfield to have him out there. To this point everything has worked pretty nicely for us.”

McClendon is basically sacrificing defense for offense when Saunders is not out there and he knows it. It is not uncommon to see teams do this with one of the corner outfield positions. The commitments have been made to keep Dustin Ackley in left and Almonte in center unless they show they can’t handle it. So far so good with both. Almonte I think has shown he is better in center than expected and Ackley is improving. So the sacrifice is made in right when Saunders sits and so far the team has yet to be burned by it. It should be pointed out that McClendon has been quick to go to Saunders as a defensive replacement in games he did not start. This has worked out well for everyone, including Morrison, who saw Saunders make a tough play in right on the first ball put in play after he replaced him.

“He did great,” McClendon said of Morrison’s play in right. “He was excited to come out, too. When Saunders caught that ball he said, ‘That was one hell of a move, Skip.’ “


Abraham Almonte, 8
Brad Miller, 6
Robinson Cano, 4
Justin Smoak, 3
Logan Morrison, DH
Kyle Seager, 5
Dustin Ackley, 7
Michael Saunders, 9
Mike Zunino, 2

Erasmo Ramirez

McClendon is still taking things slow with Hart, who is not in the lineup today. Hart is still experiencing pain in his biceps when he swings the bat and with the off day Monday this was a good opportunity give him extra time to help quiet the issue. McClendon is encouraged by what he has seen at the plate from Hart.

“I think the light is starting to flick a little bit,” he said. “I can see the hands start to quicken up, he’s starting to recognize breaking balls better.”


• Tuesday’s Mariners home opener is a virtual sellout with only scattered single tickets remaining. Any tickets that are returned to the box office will be available at

• Big day for DJ Peterson, who picked up Baseball America Prospect Hitter of the Day honors Saturday as he went 4 for 4 with two doubles and three RBIs for the High Desert Mavericks.

• Heading into today’s game, the Mariners were tied for second in the Majors with 22 extra-base hits. Justin Smoak is tied for the American-League lead in RBIs with seven.

Team: mariners
Date Starting Pitcher
Tuesday, September 26 @ 6:40 pm

Mariners Roof Report

Brought to you by
Showers And Thunderstorms
High 64° | Low 52°
Roof is open
Astros at Mariners today at 6:40pm

Seattle Mariners

Seattle Mariners Eugenio Suárez...

The Associated Press

Verlander silences Mariners as Astros win key series opener 5-1

Justin Verlander took a shutout into the ninth inning, and the Houston Astros created some cushion in the AL playoff chase with a 5-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Monday night.

8 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Luis Castillo...

Brent Stecker

Video: Seattle Mariners Breakdown — Can M’s rebound to make playoffs?

Bob Stelton of Seattle Sports' Wyman and Bob answers five big questions about the Seattle Mariners going into their huge final homestand.

14 hours ago

Seattle Mariners...

Brent Stecker

Seattle Mariners postseason tickets to go on sale this week

The Seattle Mariners announced on sale and presale details Monday morning for potential 2023 MLB postseason games.

18 hours ago

Seattle Mariners Jarred Kelenic...

The Associated Press

Seattle Mariners comeback falls short in 9-8 loss as Texas sweeps

Marcus Semien homered twice, Corey Seager had a go-ahead, two-run shot and the Texas Rangers held on to beat the Seattle Mariners 9-8 on Sunday to finish a three-game sweep in a crucial AL West series.

2 days ago

Seattle Mariners...

The Associated Press

Rangers get 7 scoreless from Montgomery in 2-0 win over Mariners

Jordan Montgomery pitched seven scoreless innings, Jonah Heim drove in a run and the AL West-leading Rangers beat the Seattle Mariners 2-0.

2 days ago

Seattle Mariners...

The Associated Press

Rangers back atop AL West after 8-5 win in opener over Mariners

The Texas Rangers jumped out to an early lead and held on for an 8-5 win over the Seattle Mariners in the opener of the key AL West series.

3 days ago

Mariners notebook: Will we see more Saunders?