Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte will make his first start since May 21 in Monday's four-game-series opener against the Indians at Safeco Field, having missed the last two weeks with a sprained left thumb.

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Mariners shortstop Ketel Marte will make his first start since May 21 in Monday’s four-game-series opener against the Indians at Safeco Field, having missed the last two weeks with a sprained left thumb.

Marte went 4-for-20 in his rehab assignment with Class AAA Tacoma with a double, a RBI and two walks. Prior to the injury, the second-year infielder had hit safely in 21 of 28 games, batting .310 with 18 runs and 13 RBI during the stretch.

His impact of his return will be felt in the clubhouse, as well, as Seattle seeks to shake off a 1-4 road trip that included a weekend sweep against the first-place Texas Rangers.

“He’s young, he’s funny, he’s full of energy,” Mariners utility man Shawn O’Malley said of Marte. “He keeps everybody in a good mood, whether he’s trying to salsa dance or cracking a joke. He’s very valuable to this team, and when he’s not around, it’s definitely noticeable.

“He’s very fast, very smart and he can do a lot of things – steal a base here, infield base hit. He can really spark a team.”

Marte will hit eighth in the Seattle lineup, one spot ahead of second baseman O’Malley. Robinson Cano will slot in third as a designated hitter to give him a night off in the field.

“Our guys are dragging a little bit off the road trip,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said.

**** Mariners outfielder Stefen Romero was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma to make room for Marte on the 25-player MLB roster. Romero hit .200 (3 for 15) with a double, sacrifice fly and two RBIs in eight games with the Mariners. The 27-year-old is hitting .358 with 30 runs, seven home runs and 34 RBIs for Tacoma.

“Looking at what Cleveland’s got, they’ve got four right-handed starters and they’re predominantly right-handed in their bullpen,” Servais said. “Not a great opportunity for him to get any starts or really impact the game much. It gives us flexibility in the infield.”

**** Still no definitive word on when starting pitcher Felix Hernandez will return to the mound. When Hernandez was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained calf, it was hoped that he could return on June 12 and only miss a pair of starts.

“It’s going to take some time,” Servais said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a quick, four, five, what today is the sixth day? He’s still feeling it. He’s not running or anything like that on it. … I’ve not got the full report on him. The doctor is coming in later today and we’ll have a better feel around game time.”

**** The update on center fielder Leonys Martin was rosier, and he could return to the lineup as soon as Friday’s series-opener against the Rangers.

He ran the bases with no issues on Monday at Safeco, will have a lighter day tomorrow and could make a rehab appearance on Thursday with Tacoma.

“Looks great. Passing all the tests with flying colors,” Servais said. “Still shooting for him to be back over the weekend.”

American League West standings:

Today in Mariners History:

  • 1979 – Willie Horton becomes the 43rd player to reach 300 HRs when he homers off Detroit’s Jack Morris at the Kingdome.
  • 1988 – Mariners first base coach Jim Snyder replaced Dick Williams as interim manager of the ball club.  Snyder had a record of 45-60 through the rest of the 1988 season.  The Mariners beat the Milwaukee Brewers in Snyder’s managerial debut, as Scott Bankhead pitched 6+ innings of 4-hit ball, while Mike Moore recorded his first career save.
  • 1989 – After missing 15 games with a strained left calf muscle, Alvin Davis returns from the DL facing the KC Royals.  In his first at-bat back, he launches a 1-2 pitch from ex-Mariner Stan Clarke into the right field bleachers for a 3-run HR. Seattle wins the game, 5-3.
  • 1993 – Chris Bosio, Norm Charlton, Bill Haselman and Mackey Sasser are ejected after a 20-minute brawl in Baltimore. Lou Piniella is ejected following the fight for arguing about Baltimore ejections. Bill Haselman had homered in the 5th off Mike Mussina and was hit-by-pitch his next at bat in the 7th and the brawl was on.
  • 2011 – The Mariners took LHP Danny Hultzen with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2011 June Amateur Draft out of the University of Virginia. Hultzen is a Golden Spikes Award finalist.
  • 2011 – The Mariners dropped a 3-1 decision on the road at Chicago (AL). David Pauley has his string of 18.0 consecutive scoreless innings snapped, tied for the 6th-longest streak by a reliever in club history. Greg Halman went 3-for-3, marking first time since 2005 (Mike Morse) that a rookie has recorded back-to-back 3-hit games.
  • 2012 – The Mariners earned their first series win at Angel Stadium since May 29-31, 2009 with a 8-6 come-from-behind win over the Angels. All 8 of the Mariners runs were scored with 2 outs. Kyle Seager went 2-for-4 with 4 RBI, and Michael Saunders went 3-for-5 to lead the offense. Ichiro broke out of an 0-for-20 streak (2nd-longest hitless streak of his career) with 2 hits, including   his fourth home run of the season.
  • 2013 – Ichiro Suzuki returns to Safeco field to play his first game against the Mariners as Yankee.
  • 2013 – The Mariners selected 3B DJ Peterson out of the University of New Mexico with the 12th overall selection in the 2013 June Amateur Draft.
  • 2015 – Felix Hernandez recorded his MLB-best 9th win of the season, allowing 1 run on 2 hits over 7.0 IP in a 2-1 win over Tampa Bay…Carson Smith recorded his first MLB save with a perfect 9th inning…Austin Jackson broke a 1-1 tie with a solo home run in the 7th inning, his 3rd of the season.