Betancourt returns to lineup

Betancourt back in Mariners' lineup

BALTIMORE -- Yuniesky Betancourt's exile to the bench ended Wednesday after four games -- and a discussion with manager Don Wakamatsu initiated by the player, whose work habits had come under scrutiny.

"We had a good conversation today," Wakamatsu said. "He was trying to figure it out and he got the answer."

Apparently, Betancourt got Wakamatsu's message about improving his work ethic, as well. After skipping early batting practice before the opener of a three-game series at Camden Yards on Tuesday, Betancourt took voluntary early hitting in the indoor cages before Wednesday's game.

"This is more about what we're trying to do as an organization and the style of play and the work ethic," Wakamatsu said. "[Betancourt] fully understands that and is ready to be out and play shortstop."

Betancourt is hitting .249 with two homers and 17 RBIs in 50 games, and he and veteran Ronny Cedeno, who started the past four games, are Seattle's only shortstop options.

After the heart-to-heart, Wakamatsu seemed to indicate that it was a case of a young player set in his ways clashing with the expectations of a first-time manager and new coaching staff.

"What some players are accustomed to may not fit into our coaching philosophy," Wakamatsu said. "I think it's more education. It's not a defiant thing where we're trying to prove or ask more from any one particular player. A lot of guys are working hard and our job is to maintain the integrity of that."

For now, Betancourt's transgressions seem to be forgotten, or at least forgiven.

"We both had some things to say," Wakamatsu said. "Again, it's not a personal issue. It never was a personal issue. It's trying to be the best team we possibly can and understanding there's a lot of work involved for us to continue to move forward."

Pete Kerzel is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.