John Jaso batted leadoff for the Mariners, just the third time a catcher has done so in team history. Bob Stinson did so twice in 1978...
John Jaso batted leadoff for the Mariners, just the third time a catcher has done so in team history.
Bob Stinson did so twice in 1978, so it has been 34 years of waiting for a reprise. But for Jaso, it’s not that big a deal. He’s hit leadoff 51 previous times, all with Tampa Bay. Most of those (45 leadoff starts) came in 2010, when Jaso’s on-base percentage from the one hole was an excellent .380 for a playoff-bound Rays team.
“I don’t know if I’d say I like it,” Jaso said. “I like being in the lineup. The only difference with leadoff is that whenever you lead off a game, there’s never anyone on base. You need to gather as much information as possible. If you’re somewhere else in the lineup, there might be people on and situational things, and you’ve got to execute whatever pitch you can. It might be pitch one. It doesn’t really give you time to gather that information. That’s the difference. After that, it’s a just a big cluster.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of his decision to hit Jaso first: “He’s done it before, he’s comfortable. He’s an on-base guy. He’s swinging the bat well.”
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Dustin Ackley, the normal leadoff hitter, got the day off, as Wedge said he felt it was a good time for a rest.
“It’s 36 games in 37 days, and after the off day tomorrow we have 20 more,” Wedge said. “It’s still his first full year. I felt him and (Michael) Saunders needed a day.”
Gutierrez gets heel checked
Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who has spent all season on the disabled list with a torn pectoral muscle, complicated by a case of plantar fasciitis in his heel, is in Seattle getting his heel looked at by doctors after a flare-up. The news doesn’t seem encouraging.
“He’s had some good days, and some bad days,” Wedge said. “It’s still the same thing, but it’s just not going away any time soon. It felt pretty good for a couple days, then it flared back up. We wanted to make sure it wasn’t anything else. It wasn’t anything else. We’re going to get him off his feet for three or for days, and go from there.”
The good news is that Gutierrez’s original injury, the torn pec, is doing well and he is swinging and throwing without discomfort.
• Wedge said it is a “longshot” that Blake Beavan, with a bruised right elbow after being hit by a Miguel Cabrera liner in Monday’s game, will make his scheduled start Sunday. But with a day off Thursday, Beavan could be pushed back a couple of days, with Kevin Millwood and Jason Vargas pitching Sunday and Monday on regular rest.
“I’m fairly optimistic he (Beavan) will make his next start, it’s just when it’s going to be,” Wedge said. “It’s not that important that it’s Sunday.” Beavan won’t even try to pick up a baseball until Friday.
For the record: W-L: 15-18 W PCT: .455
vs. AL West: 6-5
vs. L.A.: 0-0
vs. Oakland: 5-2
vs. Texas: 1-3
vs. AL East: 1-6
vs. AL Cent: 8-7
vs. NL: 0-0
vs. LHP: 4-4
vs. RHP: 11-14
Extra inngs: 2-1
Wednesday’s crowd: 15,655
Season total: 304,301
Biggest crowd: 46,026 (April 13)
Smallest crowd: 11,343 (April 18)
Average (15 dates): 20,287
2011 average (15 dates): 18,391
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or email@example.com. On Twitter @StoneLarry.