Mariners notebook: Casper Wells given more playing time as Ichiro gets turn at DH
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said the first non-fielding start for Ichiro this year was more about giving Casper Wells some playing time...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said the first non-fielding start for Ichiro this year was more about giving Casper Wells some playing time than resting the team's leadoff hitter.
Ichiro was given the designated-hitter assignment on Tuesday night while the hot-hitting Wells got the start in right field. Wells entered the night 11 for 27 (.407) with a home run, a double and six runs batted in since being recalled from Class AAA on June 13.
"We're trying to get Casper in there a little more, especially against left-handers," Wedge said. "It's a good chance to get Ichiro off his feet and let him still swing the bat."
Wedge said having Ichiro DH isn't quite the same as the true off day he gave the right fielder eight days earlier in Arizona. Ichiro has a seven-game hitting streak since that time, including a single in the third inning of Tuesday's game.
"It helps a little bit," Wedge said. "It's not the same as an off-day but it does help him physically, I think. A lot of times, the true off-days are more about the mental side of the game than anything."
Wedge said the hitting streak for Ichiro has strengthened his conviction that he has to get his leadoff hitter more rest.
"I've said it all along," Wedge said. "I think he does benefit by giving him a day off every now and then or letting him DH a little bit."
• Jesus Montero continues to cut a swath through left-handed pitching, adding a second inning single to right against southpaw Travis Blackley. Montero entered the night hitting 27 for 72 (.375) off left-handers, the fifth-best average in the league. Montero had been 12 for 29 (.414) against lefties his previous 11 games.
• Seattle's bullpen entered the night 6-0 with a 2.26 earned-run average and six saves in six chances over its past 21 games. The relievers struck out 77 batters over 71-2/3 innings during that span.