A surprise awaited Mariners infielder Adam Kennedy as he took a glance at the lineup card pregame.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A surprise awaited Mariners infielder Adam Kennedy as he took a glance at the lineup card pregame.

Kennedy was slotted in at the cleanup spot in the order, something he had done only one other time in a game when playing for the Angels the final day of the 2006 season. “I don’t even remember doing it, to be honest with you,” Kennedy said with a chuckle.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he made the move because he wanted to give a struggling Jack Cust the night off. Cust is hitting just .175 with a .513 on-base-plus-slugging percentage so far.

“Jack and I had a nice talk,” Wedge said. “I’m just letting him watch the game today. Going to try to help get him going a bit. He’s a guy that’s putting a little heat on himself. I think he’s handled everything great. But with a lefthander going today, this gives him a chance to watch a big league baseball game, relax, be ready late and get him right back in there tomorrow.”

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Wedge is reluctant to move Justin Smoak out of the No. 5 spot, or Milton Bradley out of the No. 3 position because both are off to good starts. So, his options for the cleanup role were limited.

“You know what? I don’t think we have a true four-hole hitter right now. I think what you want to do ideally is put someone in there who’s a veteran, and also is swinging the bat well and that’s what Adam is doing.”

Change for Gutierrez

The Mariners have altered plans for Franklin Gutierrez’s minor-league rehabilitation and will now play him at Class A High Desert in California this weekend rather than Class AAA Tacoma. Rain was expected in the Pacific Northwest this weekend while the weather in California was to be clear.

“We wanted to be able to be sure that Franklin’s work would not be disrupted by weather as he began his rehab assignment,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said in a release put out by the team. “By sending him to High Desert, we’re confident he can get early work, batting practice and time in games uninterrupted.”

Gutierrez was to play Friday night and throughout the weekend, then continue the assignment with AAA Tacoma if all goes well.


Ichiro had a pair of singles in the third and fifth innings on Thursday, giving him his ninth consecutive multi-hit game at Kauffman Stadium. That ties the record set by Royals Hall of Famer George Brett in 1979.

For the record

4-9 .308

Streak: L2

Home: 2-4

Road: 2-5

vs. AL West: 2-4

vs. L.A.: 0-0

vs. Oakland: 2-1

vs. Texas: 0-3

vs. AL East: 2-1

vs. AL Cent: 0-4

vs. NL: 0-0

vs. LHP: 2-4

vs. RHP: 2-5

Day: 0-4

Night: 4-5

One-run: 2-1

Extra inngs.: 0-0

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