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Originally published June 28, 2011 at 7:10 PM | Page modified June 29, 2011 at 5:41 PM

Jack Cust gets first start since June 14

Jack Cust, who started at designated hitter on Tuesday for the first time since June 14, is hoping to earn more playing time. "I understand the situation,"...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Next five

Wednesday vs. Atlanta, 12:40 p.m., ROOT | Hernandez (8-6, 3.19) vs. Lowe (3-6, 4.33)

Friday vs. San Diego, 7:10 p.m., ROOT | Vargas (5-5, 3.88) vs. Moseley (2-7, 3.03)

Saturday vs. San Diego, 7:10 p.m., ROOT | Fister (3-8, 3.18) vs. Luebke (1-2, 2.86)

Sunday vs. San Diego, 1:10 p.m., ROOT | Bedard (4-6, 3.00) vs. Latos (5-8, 4.24)

Monday @ Oakland, 1:05 p.m., ROOT | Pineda (7-5, 2.65) vs. Godfrey (1-1, 4,24)

quotes Let's see, three home runs in three months! He's on target to hit six this season. So... Read more

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Jack Cust, who started at designated hitter on Tuesday for the first time since June 14, is hoping to earn more playing time.

"I understand the situation," Cust said. "I feel I can help the team out. Obviously, I haven't up to this point hit up to my potential. I'm a streaky guy. I haven't gotten hot yet. I feel I can get hot and carry a team for a little bit when I do. I've done it in the past.

"It's no secret we've been struggling to score runs. They're trying anything they can. Unfortunately for myself personally, it's cost me at-bats. But that's the way the game is. I can't say I've done anything to warrant playing any more than I have. When I get in there, I'm hoping my timing is good and it clicks and go from there. I feel I can help this team score runs."

Cust worked on his stroke and mechanics while he was out but admitted the bench role was not easy.

"You're not playing for a reason, so you're trying to work on things to make things better in the box," he said. "You can overdo that as well. You get a couple of pinch-hit at-bats, and something doesn't go your way, you try something else, and try something else."

Mariners manager Eric Wedge praised the way Cust has handled his time on the bench.

"He's been a terrific teammate," Wedge said. "He's handled himself as a great pro. We've had some good conversations. He's working in BP. He's utilizing his time to try and find it. I think it's a good opportunity to get him in there. Obviously we are still trying to shake things up and get things going."

Note

• Mariners shortstop prospect Nick Franklin, recently promoted to Class AA Jackson, is on the disabled list after getting hit in his jaw with a teammate's backswing Monday night while in the batting cage before a game in Montgomery, Ala.

Franklin went to a local emergency room, and tests showed no fractures, said Pedro Grifol, the Mariners' director of minor-league operations. He accompanied the team on the seven-hour "red-eye" bus trip from Montgomery to Jackson after the game. Franklin was to see a Mariners doctor in Jackson on Tuesday, but those results weren't yet available.

"He had some nausea, headaches and dizziness on the bus from Montgomery, but once he got off the bus it all subsided," Grifol said of Franklin. "It's being treated as a possible concussion. If it is a concussion, we'll take the proper organizational protocol. If it isn't, we're looking seven days at the minimum (the length of a minor-league DL stint)."

Franklin, 20, has been shooting up the organization since being drafted No. 27 overall in the 2009 draft, and had recently been called up to Jackson from Class A High Desert. In his first four games with the Generals, Franklin was 9 for 15 (.600) with a double and home run.

"He's elevated his game, like good talents always do," Grifol said. "You challenge them, and they elevate their game. The reports we've gotten from Double-A have been unbelievable. He's hitting, hitting with power, playing great defense, and he's brought energy to the club. He's a leader. Everything we anticipated, it's happened."

For the record: W-L: 39-41; W PCT: .488; Streak: L2 Home: 21-20 Road: 18-21 vs. AL West: 9-9 vs. L.A.: 3-2 vs. Oakland: 4-3 vs. Texas: 2-4 vs. AL East: 11-8 v. AL Cent: 12-17 vs. NL: 7-7 vs. LHP: 8-13 vs. RHP: 31-28 Day: 9-13 Night: 30-28 One-run: 15-14 Extra inngs.: 4-3 Home attendance Tuesday's crowd: 21,769 Season total: 921,107 Biggest crowd: 45,727 (April 8) Smallest crowd: 11,692 (May 31) Average (41 dates): 22,466 2010 average (41 dates): 26,117

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