SEATTLE – Mike Carp arrived in the Seattle clubhouse Tuesday just in time to say goodbye to Ichiro Suzuki, who’d dropped by one last time to pick up a few things and say a few farewells.
“I got to say goodbye to Ichiro, and I told him he’d been an inspiration to me,” Carp said. “It’s tough to say goodbye to a legend.”
With Ichiro traded to the New York Yankees and first baseman Justin Smoak optioned to the Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners brought Carp back from Tacoma – and added outfielder Trayvon Robinson to their 25-man roster, too.
“Carp is going to be our primary first baseman, though we may look at a few guys over there, (and) let Mike be the designated hitter, too,” manager Eric Wedge said. “Trayvon is our extra outfielder. We’ll try to get him in when we can.”
For now, the post-Ichiro outfield looks like this: Casper Wells in left field, Michael Saunders in center and Carlos Peguero in right.
Wedge will sacrifice playing time for Robinson, a speedy switch-hitter, to get a longer look at Peguero, he said.
It was about this time last year that Carp caught fire at the plate, batting .313 in August with eight doubles, six home runs and 25 RBI.
He returns from Tacoma and a minor league rehabilitation assignment that saw his inflamed right shoulder heal – which led to improved hitting and throwing.
“I don’t think I was healthy when I came back the last time, and my swing was never right, though I didn’t want to admit it,” Carp said. “Trying to hurry back, that was a lesson learned.”
Robinson, a .281 career hitter in the minors, was batting .265 with Tacoma. But he had, the Mariners said, improved his outfield defense and used his speed more, stealing 19 bases and scoring 50 runs in 83 games this season.
“I got better,” Robinson said. “I’m probably just as excited to be called up this season as last year, but I’ve learned about making adjustments, I’ve cut down my mental mistakes.
“Coming up from Tacoma hadn’t crossed my mind because I’d beat it into my head not to think about it. Being 30 miles away from the big leagues was tough, so I put it out of my mind.”
The Franklin Gutierrez saga continues on its own strange path as the former Gold Glove outfielder underwent a second battery of tests Tuesday. On Monday, doctors examined him to determine how he’s responding to his June 29 concussion – and he’s still having issues. Gutierrez and the team should know more today. … In his 13 relief appearances with Seattle, veteran left-hander Oliver Perez has thrown 72 percent of his pitches for strikes. … Jesus Montero thrives against left-handed pitching. His .373 average against them this season is the second-highest in the American League. He trails only the Yankees’ Derek Jeter (.383). … Expect to see more of John Jaso this homestand – he’s batting .306 this year in Safeco Field, where he had a 10-game hitting streak going before Tuesday’s game.
Seattle plays host to the New York Yankees in a 12:40 p.m. game today that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starters: New York’s Ivan Nova (10-4, 4.10 ERA) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (1-2, 4.86).