Mariners' Dustin Ackley moves back to leadoff spot | Notebook
Wedge said pregame that the move was about trying to reignite Ackley, who has struggled since he left the leadoff spot on June 1.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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OAKLAND, Calif. — In what might be a last-ditch attempt to avoid sending Dustin Ackley to Class AAA, the Mariners reinstated him in the leadoff spot.
Ichiro moved from the top of the order to the No. 2 position for the first time in his major-league career. But Mariners manager Eric Wedge said pregame that the move was more about Ackley and trying to ignite a bat that has floundered since he left the leadoff spot on June 1.
"I liked him up there," Wedge said. "He hasn't done anything to deserve to be up there right now. But I'm just trying to think outside the box, get him back up there and hopefully try to get him going a little bit."
Ackley hit .275 with a .353 on-base percentage (OBP) in a 3 ½-week stint as a full-time leadoff hitter before Wedge moved Ichiro to that role to try to reignite his bat. Since that move, Ackley's OBP has plummeted to .306 while Ichiro's is even worse at .255.
Wedge said he felt Ackley was a different hitter when he was batting leadoff.
"He had better plate coverage," Wedge said. "I mean, he knows this. Everybody out there knows what the hell they need to be doing in order to be successful. And that's the most frustrating part of it. But ultimately, they've got to do it."
Ackley started off Saturday night's game against Oakland with a fly out to right field, then struck out in the second inning on a pitch in the dirt.
• Mariners catcher Adam Moore was claimed off waivers Saturday by the Kansas City Royals. Moore, 28, was designated for assignment by Seattle last week, shortly after he'd returned to Class AAA from the disabled list where he'd been recovering from his latest knee injury.
Once labeled as the Mariners' "catcher of the future," Moore struggled through the 2010 season, then suffered a season-ending knee injury the first weekend of the 2011 campaign.
Moore was having a strong spring this year, but then broke a bone in his wrist and was out several weeks. Soon after that, he suffered another injury — this one less severe — in the same knee he'd hurt last year and missed more time.
He hit .197 with five home runs and 17 runs batted with Seattle.
• Mariners catcher Jesus Montero sat out Saturday night's game and is unlikely to play Sunday as well as he recovers from a mild concussion suffered last Wednesday. Wedge said Montero — who took batting practice Saturday for the first time since getting hurt — won't get behind the plate again before the All-Star break, but there's a small chance he could DH on Sunday.
For the record: W-L: 36-50 PCT: .419
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or email@example.com. On Twitter @gbakermariners.