Casper Wells knocks it out of the park with Mother's Day gift | Mariners notes
Making a rare start in left field, the outfielder hit a two-run blast off his boyhood idol, Andy Pettitte, in the Mariners' 6-2 win over the Yankees.
Seattle Times staff reporter
NEW YORK — Casper Wells was thrilled to fulfill a last-minute Mother's Day request.
His mother, Daiva, hadn't made it easy on the left fielder in a phone conversation before he took the field in a rare starting assignment for the Mariners on Sunday.
"My Mom called me and she said, 'Just hit a homer for me!' Wells said. "Oh yeah, easy request. Easy thing to do, hit a homer at Yankee Stadium."
Wells said he'd try. Then, after clubbing a two-run blast of boyhood idol Andy Pettitte of the Yankees in the sixth inning, he signaled to Daiva, who was sitting with family members in a section behind the visitors' dugout.
Wells, a native of Schenectady in upstate New York, left 16 tickets for family and friends on Sunday. On Saturday, three busloads of fans had traveled from his hometown to New York, though Wells did not play.
Wells had played in only 16 games and been limited to 19 at-bats before Sunday. Manager Eric Wedge had Wells batting second because he needed a right-handed bat against the left-handed Pettitte.
Ichiro and Michael Saunders were the only players in Sunday's lineup who had faced Pettitte previously. Wells and others worked mostly off scouting reports and video footage of Pettitte that was more than a year old.
"Growing up a Yankees fan, I've seen him on TV, so I was scouting him from the time I was a little kid," Wells deadpanned.
Ryan bats ninth
Brendan Ryan got an exit pass from Wedge's doghouse, but found himself at the bottom of the order.
Wedge benched Ryan Saturday after he looked lost in a key at-bat on Friday. Ryan was back at shortstop Sunday, but batting ninth instead of the No. 2 spot where he'd been. Wedge used Wells at the No. 2 position on Sunday, but knows he needs a more permanent solution when there's a right-hander on the mound.
After going hitless again, Ryan is batting .144.
"It's not a forever thing (if) he gets himself going," Wedge said before the game about Ryan's chances of returning to the No. 2 spot. "I still want to give him an opportunity to do that. He's a lot better than what we've seen, but he has to go up there and defend himself ... he has to compete better than what he's been doing."
Ryan drew a key walk in the ninth inning Sunday, which helped lead to a two-run inning against Yankees reliever Clay Rapada. He also looked sharp defensively, helping start a double play that ended the fifth inning.
• Justin Smoak's two-run homer off Pettitte was his first off a southpaw since last June 12 in Detroit, against Adam Wilk. Smoak's last homer of any kind — and his last extra-base hit — was in Detroit on April 26.
• Kevin Millwood notched his 2,000th career strikeout, fanning the Yankees' Curtis Granderson in the fourth.
• Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter singled in the eighth to tie Robin Yount for 16th place on baseball's all-time hits list with 3,142.