OAKLAND – It wasn’t the way Jesus Montero wanted to get to the four-day All-Star break, but the Seattle Mariners rookie will get time to let his mild concussion heal.
“Frustrating,” he said of not being in the final first-half lineup. “But I think I’ve learned a lot playing the first half. I’m a better catcher, a better hitter than I was in spring training.”
Montero missed the Oakland series because that concussion remained an issue. Taking batting practice, he was fine. Fielding ground balls, he experienced dizziness.
“He’s just not ready,” manager Eric Wedge said.
Montero played in 73 games – 32 at catcher – batting .245 with eight home runs and 28 RBI and catching Seattle’s six-pitcher no-hitter June 8.
“I’ve had good at-bats and bad at-bats, and the truth is, it’s not easy at this level,” Montero said. “Every game you learn something new.”
Michael Saunders flew home to Colorado after the game to spend a few nights in his own bed and help wife Jessica set up a nursery for the child they’re expecting.
“I had a decent first half, but that’s all it was, the first half,” Saunders said. “There’s a long way to go, for this team and for me.”
Saunders, a long shot to make the team when camp opened in February, has started 74 games and batted .257 with eight home runs, 25 RBI and a team-high 13 stolen bases.
Dustin Ackley’s plans for the break were simple: get home to Seattle and spend the time with wife Justine and their two Yorkshire Terriers.
His first half?
“I’m dealing with failure, but at this level everyone fails. The good players learn from it and get better, and that’s what I’m trying to do,” Ackley said. “I’m at the stage where I’m doing what I need to do in batting practice, but not taking it into the game.
“Until you get it into the game, it doesn’t count. It’s not fun struggling like this, but I’m the same guy I was last season.”
Wedge wouldn’t lock into a post-All-Star rotation, but said it was likely Kevin Millwood would start Friday’s game at Safeco Field. What follows may depend on what Felix Hernandez does at the All-Star Game. … When Charlie Furbush was asked to intentionally walk Josh Reddick in the 10th inning, one of his pitches to Miguel Olivo bounced – and ball four sailed over the catcher’s head, sending base runner Jemile Weeks to third base. Furbush was charged with a wild pitch. … The four double plays Jason Vargas got in his complete-game victory Saturday matched the Mariners’ record for DPs behind one pitcher. Seattle has turned five in a game behind multiple pitchers. … Rookie Kyle Seager’s 29 first-half two-out RBI rank sixth in team history. Jim Presley had 44 of them in 1986 – and Richie Sexson matched that in 2005.
The Mariners will enjoy a four-day All-Star break before opening a three-game series with Texas on Friday at Safeco Field.email@example.com blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners