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Mariners notebook

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Next series
Opponent: Tampa Bay Rays
When: 4:08 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday
Where: Tropicana Field
TV: FSN, both games
Radio: ESPN 710 AM, both games
Pitchers: Tuesday — Seattle left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith (4-3, 3.59 earned run average) vs. right-hander Jeff Niemann (12-6, 3.80). Wednesday — right-hander Brandon Morrow (1-4, 5.08) vs. TBA
Johnson injured celebrating
The Mariners may be the meekest team in the American League scoring-wise, but they’re by far the most aggressive when they celebrate a game-winning hit.
Finally, it has cost them a player.
Catcher Rob Johnson hasn’t been able to play the past two days because of a sprained left ankle.
How’d he hurt it?
During the home-plate scrum after Ichiro Suzuki’s game-winning homer Friday against the Yankees, the Mariners gathered around home plate and performed their traditional whack-a-thon with their hero. There was a lot of slapping, pushing and jumping around.
Johnson came down wrong on his left ankle.
“There was a hole in the right-handed batter’s box and I came down in it,” Johnson said. “It was ugly. You should see the (video) replay. It’ll make you sick.”
Manager Don Wakamatsu didn’t think Johnson would be out long, saying he could have caught in case of emergency on Sunday.
“We have a video of most embarrassing moments and it shows exactly what happened,” Wakamatsu said. “Yes, he has taken some abuse on that.”
Kenji Johjima was in the original starting lineup but was scratched because he couldn’t bend his left knee, the result of a foul tip he took in Saturday night’s game. Johjima played all nine innings Saturday but was hobbling Sunday.
“That is one of those magical spots you can’t protect,” Wakamatsu said. “Being a former catcher, I know exactly how he feels.”
Hall or nothing
Why was Bill Hall back in left field Sunday after going 2-for-17 in the homestand and struggling in the field because of a quad injury? He was the only left fielder Wakamatsu felt comfortable putting out there.
Ryan Langerhans had upper back spasms and rookie Michael Saunders remained on hands-off mode as he works on his swing with hitting coach Alan Cockrell. The Mariners want Saunders to generate more power and believe playing regularly would be counter-productive to his work with Cockrell.
“I’m not afraid to use him on defense, but (will not start him) with everything going on with his swing,” Wakamatsu said. “If Billy would come in and say he can’t go, then Saunders would be in there.”
Hall went 0-for-4 Sunday and is hitless in his past 13 at-bats.
Of note
Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-3 with an intentional walk, ending his eight-game hitting streak. He hasn’t gone hitless in consecutive games since August 13-15, 2008. ... Suzuki leads the American League with 15 intentional walks. ... Franklin Gutierrez batted .405 this season against the Yankees. He’s a .351 hitter in his career against the Yankees. ... After allowing six home runs in his first five starts, Ian Snell hasn’t given up any in his past four starts. He’s 5-1 with a 3.05 ERA in his last seven starts, and the five victories since Aug. 19 are the most in the league. ... San Jose beat the Mariners’ High Desert team 4-3 Saturday night to sweep the Class A California League championship series in three games.
Kirby Arnold, Herald writer
Story tags » Mariners

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