The ailments that kept Nelson Cruz and Ketel Marte out of the Seattle Mariners’ lineup on Saturday did not prevent them from playing in Sunday’s series finale against the Houston Astros.
Marte sprained his ankle sliding into third base on Friday. The same day, Cruz fouled a ball off his left foot, and the soreness from that act caused him to be scratched from Saturday’s lineup. Marte had to sit that day, too.
But both were back in the lineup on Sunday, Cruz batting fourth and playing right field, Marte back at shortstop and batting ninth.
“They both came in (Sunday), they both felt good enough to play and run around, especially Nelly in the outfield,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I was probably more concerned about that. But he feels good about where he’s at. So that’s who we’ll go with.”
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Servais said Cruz will wear a protective pad on his foot, “and hopefully he doesn’t hit it again.”
Cruz went 2-for-2 and was hit by a pitch in three plate appearances Sunday before being lifted for a defensive replacement in the eighth inning.
“He’s really sore,” Servais said afterward. “He battled. He wanted to play today, he got out there. Thought he swung the bat very well. When the game was out of hand, kind of rally the troops and play for tomorrow.”
Marte went 1-for-4 and grounded into two double plays.
IANNETTA SITS AGAIN
Chris Iannetta sat out on Sunday for the second consecutive day, a move Servais said was designed to give the struggling catcher a chance to clear his mind.
Iannetta has hit just 6-for-51 in his previous 13 games, and has just one extra-base hit in the past month.
“I know he’s working on a couple things with (hitting coach) Edgar (Martinez), and just wanted to give him an extra day to clear his mind and go from there,” Servais said. “He got a little fatigued at the end of the first half. I thought the four days would help. More of a mental break than anything, just kind of slow it down, the weight of the world is not on your shoulders every day.
“Just relax, go play, get back to doing what he’s capable of doing.”
Servais said Iannetta, who is batting .215 this season, will be back in the lineup on Monday.
SMITH HITS LEADOFF
For the first time this season, Mariners left fielder Seth Smith batted in the leadoff spot.
He went 1-for-3 with a double, two walks and a run scored.
It was the 79th time in his career that Smith started a game as the leadoff hitter, and the 19th time he’s done it in a Mariners uniform. In 18 starts in the leadoff spot last season, Smith hit .239 with three homers and a .280 on-base percentage.
“I don’t think it really matters where Smitty hits,” Servais said. “He does what he does, does a good job getting on base, and that’s what you want at the top of the lineup, guys who get on base. So we’ll mix it up for the day.”
The Mariners begin a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox with a 7:10 p.m. game Monday at Safeco Field. Left-hander Wade LeBlanc (1-0, 3.52 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Mariners, with left-hander Chris Sale (14-3, 3.38) slated to pitch for the White Sox. The game can been seen on Root Sports and heard on 710-AM.
Christian Caple: @ChristianCaple