Mariners' setback sparks change in clubhouse

Mariners' setback sparks change in clubhouse

Mariners' setback sparks change in clubhouse
SEATTLE -- Change is coming in the Mariners clubhouse with a series of roster moves expected Wednesday in the wake of Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Padres.

Though the Mariners didn't make any official announcements, it appears reliever Stephen Pryor and Mike Carp are headed to the disabled list and Blake Beavan and Alex Liddi are candidates to be optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.

That would open up spots for outfielders Franklin Gutierrez and Casper Wells, starter Erasmo Ramirez and reliever Steve Delabar.

But Felix Hernandez expects some change in himself as well, voicing frustration in the wake of a game in which his recent struggles continued despite an extra five days' rest to deal with a minor back issue.

"Disappointing, for myself," Hernandez said after giving up five runs, nine hits and three walks in six innings. "I'm tired of pitching like this. I've got to do something about this. I've got to pitch better."

Hernandez also hit a batter and threw a wild pitch as his record fell to 4-5 with a 3.70 ERA.

The 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner is 1-4 with a 6.37 ERA over his past six starts and has given up 51 hits in 35 1/3 innings.

Hernandez said he felt better physically after skipping a turn in the rotation following a five-inning outing on June 1 in Chicago when his back flared up. But he didn't fare a lot better against a Padres team whose 20-41 record coming in to the Interleague series was the worst in the Majors.

  • 142 wins
  • 110 wins

"I was fine. My body feels good," Hernandez said. "I'd just like to be there every five days now."

Manager Eric Wedge said his ace "looked like himself" after his layoff, but didn't get much help from his defense in a crucial sixth inning when San Diego scored four times. A popup to shallow left field in front of Chone Figgins that shortstop Brendan Ryan couldn't haul in over his head opened the floodgates as the Padres then broke things open with two RBI singles and a run-scoring triple.

"I felt like we were sluggish defensively," Wedge said. "We didn't give Felix much help that inning. We've been a very good defensive club all year, but I was very disappointed in that inning. At multiple levels, we were sluggish and just didn't have the same energy."

The loss was the third straight for Seattle, which totaled just 10 runs in the first four games of a nine-game homestand and saw its record fall to 27-36.

The Mariners totaled 12 hits on the night, but couldn't dent the scoreboard much until the ninth, when they rallied for three runs against the Padres bullpen.

Michael Saunders smoked a home run to cut the lead to 5-2. A double by Figgins and an RBI single by pinch-hitter Munenori Kawasaki made things more interesting. And after Ichiro Suzuki singled, Kawasaki scored from third on a strikeout by Dustin Ackley, as the ball got away from Padres catcher Nick Hundley.

But Jesus Montero grounded out to end the game and the Mariners were left shaking their heads over the number of close calls that didn't produce anything.

Justin Smoak went 1-for-4, but had two well-hit balls wind up in Padres gloves at the warning track.

"I feel like I hit well," Smoak said. "The first one I hit well. The second one I definitely got every bit of it. And it is what it is from there.

"You get frustrated. You go up there and try to put yourself in the best position to succeed, you hit a ball like that and it goes nowhere. It comes with the territory."

Saunders continued his recent surge with a 3-for-4 night. He now leads the Mariners with a .281 batting average after hitting .450 (23-for-51) over his past 12 games.

Kyle Seager got his team-leading 39th RBI on a groundout in the fourth to score Ichiro, but one of Smoak's warning-track outs ended the threat.

The Mariners missed a golden opportunity in the fifth when Saunders stretched a one-out drive to left into a hustle double, sliding around the tag at second. Saunders then stole third, but was stranded there after Figgins struck out and Ichiro grounded out.

Pryor, the Mariners' second reliever on the night, injured his groin on a play at first base after trying to beat Everth Cabrera to the bag with one out in the ninth. He'll undergo an MRI exam on Wednesday.

Carp has been having increasing problems with his left shoulder and also figures to miss some time, which potentially opens room for Gutierrez and Wells to return and bolster the outfield situation.

Beavan has struggled recently and Ramirez could be promoted to take his next start, while Delabar appears the likely option to replace Pryor in the bullpen if his groin injury is serious.

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.