As expected, Nick Franklin is out of the line-up after needing five stitches in his knee last night.
Acting manager Robby Thompson said he hopes that Franklin will be back for Friday or Saturday's games Seattle. The issue isn't the stitches. Mariners trainers assured him that Franklin would be able to play with them. They could protect the stitches with padding.
"Obviously, it's going to have to be protected pretty well," Thompson said.
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However, the pain in Franklin's knee is more of the issue.
"It's pretty sore," Franklin said.
When it came to replacing Franklin at second base, Thompson decided to move Brad Miller over from shortstop instead of bringing Dustin Ackley in from the outfield.
"With Kuma and him putting the ball on the ground, we felt, 'let's get Brendan back in there. He's done a good job in his last few starts,'" Thompson said.
Michael Saunders moves up to the No. 2 spot in the line-up. He's reached base into nine of the last 11 times he's been to the plate and is 6-for-8 in the last three games. Here's his numbers since July 3.
Other than the strikeouts, that production is pretty damn solid. The Mariners would love for it to continue for an entire season. The shoulder injury earlier certainly didn't help him. While Saunders has maintained the shoulder was healthy, the time off affected his timing. And when he struggled coming back, his swing got out of sorts.
Now that Saunders is starting to hit again, the question remains: "Can he maintain it and find a level of consistency?"
Much of the inconsistency is a product of when his swing gets loopy and long. Because of his size and long arms his swing isn't going to be short and compact. It gets longer and longer when he struggles.
"He's got a lot of things going on in his swing, he's got the bat wiggle, he's got some movement with his feet and sometimes he really expands that and gets a lot of movement," Thompson said."He needs to know his swing and learn his swing and know how to tinker with it to get it back. It's not a quiet approach up there. He does have a lot going on up there and when you do that there's times you tend to get out of whack a little more than people who are quiet at the plate."