By Bob Dutton The News Tribune
Shortstop Brad Miller returned to the lineup Friday when the Mariners faced a right- hander in Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman. That put Chris Taylor on the bench after going 1-for-3 Thursday in his big-league debut.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said the two will continue to share duty at short ? and serve as backups to second baseman Robinson Cano and third baseman Kyle Seager ? while utilityman Willie Bloomquist recovers from a bruised knee.
But McClendon said Miller and Taylor won’t be a strict left/right platoon.
?I’ll look at matchups,? McClendon said, ?and see who best fits that particular night and put them in there.?
Montero back to Tacoma
First baseman Jesus Montero was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Friday to open a roster spot for Kendrys Morales.
Morales was acquired Thursday in a trade with the Minnesota Twins.
Montero was hitless in three at-bats Thursday after being recalled earlier in the day to serve, effectively, as a space-holder for Morales.
Seager dropped from fourth to fifth in the lineup when McClendon opted to insert Morales as the cleanup hitter behind Cano. Seager might also see time as the No. 2 hitter in future games.
?I’ve played with the idea of Seager hitting second,? McClendon said, ?because he’s such a good fastball hitter. That is definitely a possibility.?
What won’t happen is Cano shifting to No. 2. McClendon dismisses a growing belief among some in the game that a lineup’s best hitter should bat second.
?I think (the) three hole is the best place for your (best) hitter,? McClendon said. ?Hopefully, you’ve got two guys in front of him who are capable of getting on base.
?Hopefully, a lot of times, he’s coming up when (runners are on) first and second, or first and third.?
Felix Hernandez entered Friday’s game with 999? career innings at Safeco Field. The only active pitcher with more innings at one ballpark is Toronto lefty Mark Buehrle, who has 1,306? innings at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. Buehrle pitched 12 seasons for the White Sox. … James Jones picked up his 20th steal of the season in Thursday’s loss. He is the fourth rookie in club history with 20 steals. The others are Ichiro Suzuki (56 in 2001), Phil Bradley (21 in 1984) and Donell Nixon (21 in 1987). … The Mariners suffered their 12th shutout in Thursday’s 4-0 loss to the Orioles. That matches Tampa Bay for the most shutouts among American League teams.
Hi-A High Desert outfielder Gabby Guerrero was picked as Baseball America’s Prospect Hitter of the Day for Thursday after going 3-for-4 with two homers in a 10-8 victory at Rancho Cucamonga.
Guerrero, 20, recently played in the All-Star Futures Game. He is batting .432 (19-for-44) in his past 10 games and is hitting .312 overall with 12 homers and 69 RBI in 95 games.
It was 34 years ago today ? July 26, 1980 ? that the Mariners struck for three runs in the second inning at Toronto and snapped Dave Stieb’s streak of 23 consecutive scoreless innings. Stieb’s streak ended when Julio Cruz drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded. The Mariners went on to win 7-2 in the first game of a doubleheader at Exhibition Stadium.
Toronto then gained a split with a 7-5 victory.
Worth noting: The opener was played in 2 hours, 16 minutes; the second game in 2:20.