Mariners heed warning track after seeing a Royal crash
Casper Wells and his teammates took extra care to avoid another painful outfield collision.
Seattle Times staff reporter
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Casper Wells sure looked like a guy who knew where the wall was when it mattered.
Wells got the start in center field on Friday for the Mariners and raced back for a fifth-inning drive by Jose Molina. The ball was hauled in at the track and Wells then slowed just enough to only bump the wall with moderate force. Prior to the game, Wells had talked about the difficulty of finding the wall on fly balls at times, one day after Jarrod Dyson of the Kansas City Royals nearly knocked himself out chasing a home-run ball to center by Jesus Montero.
Dyson never seemed to notice the wall at all and was flattened by it to the point where many of the Mariners didn't even notice the home run at first. Wells said Friday that even with a warning track, it's tough for an outfielder to notice it under his spikes when focused on a fly ball.
"They should put a puddle of water out there," he joked. "That way, you'd feel your feet splashing first."
Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders agreed that it can be tough to feel the warning track without actually seeing it. Saunders was shagging fly balls in spring training when he raced back for one near the wall and pitcher Scott Patterson, standing nearby, told him he still had room.
Saunders hit the wall so hard, his cap and sunglasses were knocked sideways. Justin Smoak apparently fell to the ground laughing. After Saunders got up, he glared at Patterson, who seemed somewhat sheepish.
"He said, 'I thought you'd played with me long enough to know I was kidding,' " Saunders said.
• The Mariners' recent success at Kansas City vaulted them past the New York Yankees as the second-highest road scoring team in baseball. Seattle entered Friday averaging 5.02 runs per game on the road. They are a major-league worst 2.86 runs per game at home — compared with 5.00 for the Yankees. The New York Mets lead the majors averaging 5.1 runs per game on the road.
• Seattle opened the scoring in the first inning on an Ichiro triple and a Wells double. The Mariners have scored 18 runs in the first two innings of their games this road trip, compared to 16 runs in all other innings.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or email@example.com.