Jeff Clement had chances. Forty-eight of them, actually. That's how many at-bats he got in the 15 games the catcher played since the Mariners...

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Jeff Clement had chances.

Forty-eight of them, actually. That’s how many at-bats he got in the 15 games the catcher played since the Mariners called him up from Tacoma. But after batting .167 with 20 strikeouts in those 15 games, Clement was sent back to Class AAA Tacoma after Sunday’s victory over the Padres.

“I just didn’t hit the ball hard consistently when I had chances to,” Clement said. “That’s all there is to it.”

Jose Vidro, who has recovered from a sore back, will resume the role as the primary designated hitter, which he held until Clement was called up. General manager Bill Bavasi said Clement’s move to Tacoma was designed to get him more opportunities at the plate. Clement did not play Saturday or Sunday.

“He needs more at-bats than we think we can give him with Vidro healthy now,” Bavasi said. “He’s had a bit of a struggle here. But he’s too good a prospect to not be playing every day. It’s not more complicated than that. A young guy comes up, struggles, gets knocked back down, comes back up and goes to the Hall of Fame.”

The Mariners will make the corresponding move to fill Clement’s spot on the roster before Tuesday’s game in Detroit. Outfielder Jeremy Reed was seen entering the Mariners clubhouse after Sunday’s game. Presumably, he’ll be the player joining the Mariners roster.

Vidro back at DH

Jose Vidro’s pinch-hit single in the eighth inning started the Mariners’ two-run rally on Sunday, and he’ll be expected back in the lineup as the regular designated hitter when the Mariners begin a three-game series in Detroit on Tuesday. Manager John McLaren said he hadn’t decided where Vidro will hit in the batting order.

Vidro started only twice in the past 13 games and has been bothered by back spasms for more than a week. He recovered sufficiently that he pinch-hit in two of the past three games. McLaren said before Sunday’s game that the Mariners wouldn’t be experimenting with Vidro at first base any time in the near future.

“He’s here basically for his bat so we’re going to try and get that going,” McLaren said. “Him helping us in the field will be down the road.”

Felix tightens up

Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez experienced tightness in his right calf, something he said he first felt while warming up early in Sunday’s game.

That tightness is why McLaren said he removed Hernandez from the game after the sixth inning.

“He wanted to stay out there,” McLaren said. “I knew he was going to fight me on it, but I was going to have to win this battle. … We don’t think it’s serious, but it’s something that if he altered his pitching delivery or something, he might do something to himself.”

Both McLaren and Hernandez said they didn’t think the calf tightness would rule out Hernandez from making his next start, which would be Saturday in New York against the Yankees. McLaren said the team will know more about Hernandez’s status on Tuesday.

“We’ll monitor this day by day,” McLaren said. “And hopefully with a little treatment, a little rest, he’s going to be fine.”

Hernandez has not won a game since April 16, but that fact speaks more to the run support than his pitching performance. Seattle scored five runs in the four games Hernandez started leading up to Sunday’s game, and the Mariners scored only one run in the six innings he pitched Sunday.

Ichiro sets record

Ichiro ran his way around the bases in the first inning with an infield hit and two stolen bases, which put him in position to score on Jose Lopez’s ground ball. The pair of stolen bases broke the Mariners’ franchise record for steals. Ichiro has 292 stolen bases for Seattle. The previous record of 290 was held by Julio Cruz.

Ichiro said Cruz sent him a bottle of cologne at some point in the past, and the odor spelled out the age difference between the two.

“It smelled like old men,” Ichiro said through an interpreter. “I felt the generation gap between us.”

NOTE

Raul Ibanez‘s eight-game hitting streak ended on Sunday when he went 0 for 2 and walked his final two plate appearances. The streak was tied for the third-longest active streak in the American League.

For the record

M’s W-L W PCT
18-27 .400


Streak:
W2

Home: 11-13

Road: 7-14

vs. AL West: 10-11

vs. L.A.: 3-3

vs. Oakland: 3-2

vs. Texas: 4-6

vs. AL East: 3-10

vs. AL Central: 3-5

vs. NL: 2-1

vs. LHP: 4-8

vs. RHP: 14-19

Day: 6-7

Night: 12-20

One-run: 3-9

Extra innings: 1-2

Home attendance

Sunday’s crowd: 35,483

Season total: 650,169

Biggest crowd: 46,334 (March 31)

Smallest crowd: 15,818 (May 6)

Average (24 dates): 27,090

2007 average (24 dates): 29,005