Jack Cust is back at designated hitter tonight after getting yesterday off "to watch" in the series finale against the Tigers.
Cust is batting sixth behind Justin Smoak.
Can he find a way to rally his slumping bat? Wedge was encouraged that Cust got a double in his final at-bat of Wednesday night's game after striking out the first four times he came up.
"That last at-bat, that swing and the way the ball came off the bat and the way it was true to left field, that's what he's looking for. That's the feel," Wedge said. "He's a guy that's capable of driving the ball to all fields. I think his strikeouts are up early on because of his struggles."
Cust has 29 strikeouts in 95 plate appearances. His OBP has been helped by 16 walks. But the Mariners didn't sign Cust just to walk. They need him to drive the ball out of the ball park, or at least into the gap, not a bunch of rollover ground balls to second. Right now Cust has two extra base hits - two doubles.
"I think it's a combination of being a little too overanxious and a little too patient," Wedge said.
He doesn't look comfortable in the batter's box. He seems to be perpetually behind in every count and the hittable pitches he's seeing, he just isn't "squaring the ball up" as players say. Basically most of his hits have been soft ground balls to second or looping fly balls. Just 18 percent of the balls he's hit have been classified as line drives
Cust has a groundball percentage of 54 percent. He's swinging at just 38 percent of the pitches he sees, the league average is right around 45 percent. And when he does swing, he's not making much contact. His contact rate is well below league average as well.
These aren't surprising numbers. It's the type of hitter Cust has been. But he would still hit homers and doubles. They aren't getting that from him now.
"I talked to him a little bit casually yesterday," Wedge said. "He was great. He provided a lot of energy on the bench yesterday. He has the type of personality that allows him to speak out too. I think that's good for the team. I think he and (Figgins) know where they are at. They've both been through it before. I think they are both ready to break out.
Wilson out for another game
Second baseman Jack Wilson said he felt much better after getting something scratching his right eye on Thursday. But he will need another day of so before he's back on the field.
"It's clearing up," Wilson said.
The eye was still very red in parts but the swelling had gone down.
"Only this would happen to me, who else would it happen to?" Wilson joked. " I get a few hits and this happens."
"I told him to take some BP and get out there and move around the field and if you feel no ill effects, we'll get him back in there tomorrow," Wedge said.
Wilson's eye issues gives Wedge a chance to give Adam Kennedy a start at second base. Kennedy has been hitting well of late
A few other notes ...
Franklin Gutierrez took early BP and regular BP and looks much better. Wedge said they could start making plans for Gutierrez returning to the field (minor league rehab) as soon as Sunday if he continues to feel better.
Wedge said he and Carl Willis are still charting out the pitching rotation for the upcoming series against the Texas Rangers. Seattle has an off-day and Wedge said they might be looking to find guys an extra day of rest because of it.
Closer David Aardmsa is scheduled to throw for the Rainiers tonight in Reno at 6:05 p.m. You can listen to the game here.
- Ichiro RF
- Chone Figgins 3B
- Milton Bradley LF
- Miguel Olivo C
- Justin Smoak 1B
- Jack Cust DH
- Adam Kennedy 2B
- Michael Saunders CF
- Brendan Ryan SS
LHP Jason Vargas (0-2, 5.53 ERA)
Red Sox (11-13)
- Jacoby Ellsbury CF
- Dustin Pedroia 2B
- Adrian Gonzalez 1B
- Kevin Youkilis 3B
- David Ortiz DH
- Jed Lowrie SS
- Mike Cameron RF
- Jason Varitek C
- Darnell McDonald LF
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-2, 4.09 ERA)