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Thursday, June 28, 2012 - Page updated at 07:30 p.m.

Mariners hope Kevin Millwood can make next start Monday | Notebook

By Geoff Baker
Seattle Times staff reporter

There is hope Kevin Millwood might not have to miss his next start Monday against Baltimore, a hopeful sign for a team looking to build trade value for the veteran ahead of next month's deadline.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Millwood's tweaking of a previous groin strain — which occurred during the third inning — was caught early enough that it might not affect him much. Millwood had already scuffled in a couple of outings since returning from the groin strain.

"He felt some discomfort, it tightened up on him a little bit," Wedge said. "It was obvious that the last couple of pitches he threw, he wasn't able to get through his delivery very well. We didn't want to take any chances on it. All he's going to do is make it worse and he wouldn't have been able to perform."

The team will see how Millwood feels Thursday, then make a decision.

With no off days, the Mariners would either have to replace Millwood with an internal option like Hisashi Iwakuma, or else look to Class AAA. Blake Beavan was scheduled to pitch Wednesday for AAA Tacoma and could be called back up and start in Millwood's spot on normal rest.

Wedge said before the game he's reluctant to convert Charlie Furbush back to starting again, given the fine run he's on as a left-handed setup man. Furbush has at least one strikeout in each of his past 17 outings and hasn't been scored on in 15 games.

"Granted, he's done it a lot in the past," Wedge said of Furbush. "But we saw him in this (relief) role when we traded for him — knowing that it could go either way. But we felt that it could play out the way it has. So, that's what he's been doing and he's been doing a heck of a job."

Notes

• Before Millwood's injury-aborted outing Wednesday, Mariners starters had recorded at least 10 strikeouts in three of their past four outings. That's the first time any Mariners trio has done that over a four-game stretch, with Jason Vargas, Erasmo Ramirez and Felix Hernandez pulling off the feat.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the first time any major league trio of starters has done that over a four-game period since Aug. 30-Sept. 1, 2003 when Randy Johnson, Brandon Webb and Curt Schilling did it for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Ichiro extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single to left field in the fifth inning.

• Seattle's loss was the eighth time in club history the Mariners were beaten while allowing just two hits. The last time came Sept. 23, 2010 at Toronto, when Hernandez was beaten 1-0 on a Jose Bautista home run.

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or gbaker@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @gbakermariners.

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