Robinson Canó expected to return to Mariners’ lineup from suspension
Robinson Canó’s 80-game suspension is over and the Seattle Mariners are expected to have the eight-time American League All-Star in the lineup Tuesday night when they play the Oakland A’s in the second game of their three-game series at Oakland Coliseum.
Canó was suspended May 15 for a failed drug test. He was hitting .287 with four home runs and 23 RBIs in 37 games.
Canó, 35, has played 1,996 major-league games in the field. All but one has been at second base. Dee Gordon, however, has filled in well at second base while Canó was suspended.
Gordon was scratched on Monday night because of left shoulder discomfort and the A’s held on to win 7-6 to move within two games of the Houston Astros for the AL West lead.
Seattle (69-51) dropped 2 1/2 games behind Oakland (71-48) for the second wild card from the AL.
Seattle manager Scott Servais told MLB.com before Monday’s game that Canó will share time at second base, but they also plan to be flexible with his positioning.
“There is no great blueprint that says this is what is going to happen 33 percent of the time or 67 percent of the time,” Servais said. “We have to play it day by day and series by series. It’s a great offensive player to add to our mix, and the fact he can move around the field and is willing to do it, it should really keep some guys fresh and hopefully it pays dividends.”
Seattle left-hander James Paxton (10-5, 3.63 ERA) won the series opener against the Astros on Thursday, giving him double-digits wins for the second consecutive season. The Mariners completed the four-game sweep on Sunday to further tighten the AL West race.
Paxton went 5 2/3 innings against the Astros, allowing four runs and seven hits in the 8-6 victory.
Paxton struck out a career-high 16 batters against Oakland on May 2, throwing seven shutout innings before the A’s rallied against the bullpen and scored two runs in the eighth and one in the ninth in the 3-2 victory. The 16 strikeouts were the most by a Seattle pitcher since Randy Johnson had 19 in 1997.
Six days later, Paxton threw a no-hitter against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Paxton will be countered by right-hander Mike Fiers (7-6, 3.40), who is scheduled to make his second start for the A’s since he was traded by the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 6.
He allowed one run and four hits in 5 1/3 innings of his team debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers, but did not receive the decision in the 3-2 victory.
“Boy, he got off to a nice start, didn’t he?” A’s manager Bob Melvin said to MLB.com after Fiers’ team debut. “To get off to the start he did, certainly in front of the crowd for the first time, was terrific.”
Fiers faced the Mariners on May 19 in Seattle and gave up four runs and six hits in five innings of a 7-2 loss.
Fiers had a 4.45 ERA at the end of May, but has steadily lowered it with a 3.30 ERA in five starts in June and a 2.23 ERA in five starts in July.
Fiers has made six starts in his career against Seattle and is 1-1 with a 6.21 ERA.
So far, he’s impressed with his new teammates, who are 37-12 in their past 49 games.
“Definitely a tough bunch,” he told MLB.com. “Resilient, always putting together good at-bats and making it tough on pitchers. It’s a whole team game. They show it. They go after everything hard.”