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Thursday, April 18, 2013 - Page updated at 11:30 p.m.

Wedge not sure why Mariners' hitting hasn't been better this month | Mariners notebook

By Larry Stone
Seattle Times staff reporter

Before Wednesday's game, Mariners manger Eric Wedge issued one of his periodic assurances that his team's hitting will come around. The Mariners ranked 14th among 15 American League teams with a .219 average. They were also 14th in slugging (.365) and 13th in on-base percentage (.285).

"I tell you, like I've said before, spring training is spring training, I get that," Wedge said. "As baseball people, you look at swings, you look at contact, you look at what they're hitting and how they're hitting. We have guys here that are going to be able to transfer that over to the regular season. It just hasn't happened yet. For whatever reason. Everybody's different."

One of the players the Mariners need to fix themselves is catcher Jesus Montero, who was back in the lineup, hitting .211 with just one extra-base hit. Kelly Shoppach had started four of the previous six games at catcher, and Wedge admitted there has been "a little bit" of a change in the game plan regarding the division of playing time between the two. Shoppach is hitting .389 (7 for 18).

Last year, Montero could serve as the designated hitter when he wasn't catching, but this year the position is manned by Kendrys Morales.

"We're a better club now, and we have more weapons now," Wedge said. "So those DH at-bats just aren't there. We'll have to see."

Notes

• The Mariners believe Michael Saunders (sprained AC joint in his right shoulder) will be able to come off the disabled list when he is eligible on April 26. Saunders took swings and had what the manager termed a good work day. "We're hopeful," Wedge said. "The way he's progressing, he's on the path."

• Reliever Stephen Pryor, the Mariners' latest addition to the DL (tear in right latissimus dorsi muscle) was wearing a sling. He said it is a precaution while he rests his arm before beginning rehab.

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