Mariners Insider Blog

Saunders may be heading to the DL, capping another dismal night

Eric Wedge said postgame that he wasn't sure yet if Michael Saunders will be going on the disabled list after crashing into the right-field wall in the top of the first and spraining his right shoulder.

"It’s a right AC sprain," Wedge said. "He’ll have to miss some time, it’s just a matter of how much time. It could be a DL situation, but we’re working through everything right now."

Wedge later said he had some hope the disabled list could be avoided.

"Michael’s a hard-nosed player and that was a hard-nosed play," Wedge said. "I’m hopeful it’s nothing too serious. I don’t think it is."

Saunders had right shoulder surgery in 2008, so this won't be his first injury to that area.

Jason Bay replaced him and went 0-for-4. If Saunders hits the DL, Carlos Peguero, Endy Chavez and Eric Thames are all candidates to replace him. Saunders had a seven-game hitting streak entering Wednesday's game.

> Blake Beavan had another rocky night. He has a 7.59 ERA after two starts. He said Wednesday night he tried to use his fourth-best pitch -- a changeup -- too often as opposed to his second-best pitch. Beavan also worked extremely slow. Wedge said afterward the tempo was not good.

> Kelly Shoppach was one of the few positives of the evening. He was 3-for-3 with a homer, double and a walk. He also threw out a runner.

Afterward, Shoppach was asked what he would be looking for as good signs after the team has lost two of three to the lowly Astros.

"There's plenty of good signs," Shoppach said. "I'm an optimist and I'm not ever going to be negative to anything. Not even a big fan of you asking me that question (he laughed when saying this). I just think it's too early to think about where we're going. We need to be focused on what we're doing today and what we're doing tomorrow."

Prior, he expounded.

"We're a week-and-a-half in, I don't even know our record yet. I just have no idea. It's not important right now. It's important that we battle, all get on the same page. This is a long haul. We can't get off to too bad of start ... this is a time when you try to get your team chemistry together, trying to get everybody on the same page, moving forward, being positive and winning ballgames. This is the time when you have a little leeway to do that."

> Winning ballgames, and a lot of them, appears to be the only remedy for the putrid attendance to start the season. For the second consecutive night, a new all-time low attendance for Safeco Field was set. Just 10,493 showed up, 252 fewer than Tuesday. By the end, less than half that were there.

The players notice. It would be impossible not to.

Brendan Ryan was hoping Saunders' catch would be a jolt for the club and the minimalist crowd. It wasn't.

"I thought that should have been a huge spark for us and should have got things going in the right direction with momentum and a guy showing how hungry he is," Ryan said. "I don’t know. We just didn’t use it, and we were flat. It’s easy to hear the few people that are still around. Not getting it done at our home field doesn’t feel good."

> Carter Capps was knocked around, too. He gave up two homers in 1 2/3.

"Hell, we’ve just made too many mistakes from a pitching standpoint," Wedge said of the series against Houston. The Astros had 24 runs and 37 hits the last two nights.

> If you want to stay positive, like Shoppach, look no further than the debut of Bobby LaFromboise. He was called up Wednesday and made his big league debut in the ninth. He threw a 1-2-3 inning with two punchouts.

> Felix Hernandez will make his home debut Thursday night. He'll be in the all-too-familiar position of having to fix things for the Mariners when they aren't going right.