Casper Wells starts in right field, and might stay there awhile
Mariners again shuffling their outfield
Seattle Times staff reporter
Casper Wells made the most of his lone opportunity to throw out a runner in his first game in right field since Ichiro was traded.
Wells nabbed Brayan Pena trying to advance on a seventh-inning single Saturday after the ball was initially bobbled. But Wells also lost a Lorenzo Cain fly ball in the sun in the ninth inning and had it get by him for a run-scoring triple that made things interesting at the end.
It had generally been assumed Wells would be Ichiro's right-field replacement. But the Mariners had started Carlos Peguero there in the first five games since the trade, something manager Eric Wedge said would keep everybody the most comfortable.
"Peguero has played more right field in his career throughout the minor leagues and whatnot," Wedge said. "And Casper played a lot more left field for us this year, so I didn't want to upset the apple cart."
But while Wells continues to be one of Seattle's better hitters, the left-handed-hitting Peguero has looked overmatched at the plate. He's just 1 for 17 with nine strikeouts since replacing Ichiro in right and was on the bench Saturday as the Mariners embarked on a string of four consecutive games against left-handed starting pitchers.
Wedge opted for switch-hitting Trayvon Robinson to play left field and face Royals southpaw Bruce Chen, while Wells moved over to right.
Robinson has spent the entire season in Class AAA after appearing in 44 games with the Mariners last year following his trade to Seattle as part of the Erik Bedard swap. While Robinson has cut down on his strikeouts compared to last year, he's only up in the majors again because the team needs outfield depth with Franklin Gutierrez hurt and Ichiro now gone.
As for Peguero's future, it might not last too much longer in the majors unless he starts making contact.
"I think he came up here trying to do too much, like a lot of the guys," Wedge said.
Wedge had a conversation with Peguero on Thursday night, after he'd doubled for his lone hit of the homestand. He said they talked about how Peguero has to keep a tall stance in the box and be more disciplined on the pitches he swings at.
"It starts with his mental approach," Wedge said. "Just slowing everything down to where he can see the ball first."
• Jesus Montero now has six consecutive multi-hit games against the Royals after his two-run homer and single Saturday. The last Mariner to do that against Kansas City was Ichiro.
• Tom Wilhelmsen gave up only his second earned run in 25 appearances Saturday when Lorenzo Cain tripled to bring in the third Kansas City marker of the game. Wilhelmsen got an ensuing ground out to record the save, leaving him 13 for 14 with a 0.61 ERA over that span as a closer.
• Wedge and his family were planning to ride in a horse-drawn covered wagon as part of the Seafair Torchlight Parade on Saturday night.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or email@example.com.
On Twitter @gbakermariners