ANAHEIM, calif. – When asked if the Seattle Mariners had missed the play of shortstop Brendan Ryan – on the field and at the plate – in the four games he’s been out, manager Eric Wedge’s answer was simple.
“What was our record without him?” Wedge asked.
That would be 0-4.
Wedge wasn’t saying that was the only reason his team lost in Ryan’s absence, but having Ryan in the field gives Seattle it’s best chance to win, he said.
For the first time since Ryan was hit on the left elbow by a pitch last Saturday, Wedge was able to put him in the starting lineup Friday. Ryan looked a little different at the plate – he was wearing an elbow brace.
“I’ll wear it the rest of my career,” Ryan said. “Not in the field but certainly at the plate. It’s like my shin guard. It’s being responsible – everybody’s going to foul a ball off their shin at some point, and you might miss a week once you do it.
“Wear a brace, you eliminate that.”
Ryan’s elbow is still swollen but good enough for him and team trainers to put him back in the field.
“I can’t touch my left shoulder with my left hand,” he said. “I’m not pretending I’m 100 percent, but I’m not at 30 percent, either.”
What about swinging a bat?
“I was fine in early batting practice,” he said. “Sitting out was killing me. When you’re hitting .215, you want to get out there and get that average up. You can’t do that from the bench.”
Before being hit with the pitch, Ryan had hit .278 since July 1.
Franklin Gutierrez didn’t go with the Tacoma Rainiers on their trip, and was sent instead to Everett to continue working out. The outfielder is coming back from a concussion, has yet to play a rehab game, and probably won’t rejoin the Mariners until September.
Reliever Charlie Furbush (strained triceps) will pitch again tonight for Tacoma in Memphis, then be re-evaluated. It’s possible the left-handed reliever could return to the Mariners for the homestand beginning Monday.
TIRED LEGS TIME
Wedge said they’re coming.
“From mid-August through the end of the season in October, you’ve got to dig deep at times,” Wedge said. “You’ve got to keep your guard up against a let down, finish strong.
“We’re playing a lot of guys with less than a full year in the majors, with just over a year in. Part of our job is to get them ready for this, get them through it.”
Since 2010, both John Jaso (.485) and Michael Saunders (.344) are among the top five opposing hitters at Angel Stadium. Saunders, especially, needed a friendly park. He opened this series 1-for-21 on this trip.
Seattle will play Angels in Anaheim in a 6:05 p.m. game that will be televised on Root Sports. Probable starting pitchers: Hisashi Iwakuma (2-3, 4.20 ERA) vs. Dan Haren (8-8, 4.44).firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners @LarryLaRue