Notes: Hargrove shakes up lineup
Mariners had managed just six hits in two weekend games
NEW YORK -- After watching his offense get two hits one night and four the next, manager Mike Hargrove made some lineup changes for Monday night's series finale against the Yankees.He moved catcher Kenji Johjima from seventh to third, designated hitter Jose Vidro from third to second and third baseman Adrian Beltre from second to seventh. It was the most significant lineup change of the season. "It's just a different look," Hargrove said. "We didn't swing the bats real well [on Sunday]. I thought we were overanxious, got frustrated and came out of our game plan." The Mariners opened the four-game series Friday night with a 20-hit assault against the Yankees, were dominated Saturday by right-hander Chien-Ming Wang who flirted with a perfect game, and were held to four hits by rookie Darrell Rasner in Sunday's shutout loss. "On Saturday, the pitcher was awfully, awfully good," Hargrove said. "[Sunday], Rasner threw the ball well, but I felt he gave us enough to hit that we should have hit better than we did." Hargrove said the makeup of Monday night's lineup had more to do with Johjima moving up than Beltre moving down. "He's hitting over .300, swinging the bat well and did a good job in the three-spot last year when we put him there," the skipper added. "Vidro works the count well, so we decided to move him into the two-hole, and that left Adrian in the seventh spot. "I'm not saying I am dissatisfied with Adrian. It has nothing to do with Adrian. Compared to where he was last year, [Beltre] is light-years ahead." After 25 games this season, Beltre is batting .245 with four home runs and 17 RBIs, tying him with Raul Ibanez for the team lead in runs batted in. After 25 games last season, Beltre was batting .198 with one home run and six RBIs. Johjima, meanwhile, has the highest batting average on the team at .296. Ichiro Suzuki, the perennial batting-average leader on the team since he arrived in 2001, has been struggling. He went into Monday night's in a 2-for-22 skid, dropping his average to .260. "He is still swinging the bat real well and he's making contact," Hargrove said. "Right now, he's not finding any holes." Hitting coach Jeff Pentland agreed. "He's almost hitting the ball too hard," he said. "He needs to top a few instead of hitting line drives at people. He lined out three times [Saturday] and three times in Boston. He's solid and still hitting laser line drives." All eyes on Felix: Right-hander Felix Hernandez will throw a three-inning simulated game at Comerica Park prior to Tuesday night's series opener against the Tigers. "We are looking for him to be healthy, looking for him to throw strikes, and it's something he needs to come through good." Hargrove said. Hernandez, sidelined since April 18 with a strained right elbow, will throw three innings, resting between each half-inning. "He'll throw 15 pitches per inning and throw all of his pitches." Hey, wake up! Beltre was half asleep for most of Saturday night's bus ride from Yankee Stadium to the team's hotel in Manhattan. But instead of making sure he was fully awake when the bus pulled up in front of the hotel, Beltre's teammates never said a word. They quietly exited the bus while Beltre remained on board. The bus took off and went around the corner before Beltre awakened fully. He had the bus driver quickly stop the bus and he got off. "I yelled at [the bus driver] and he looked back and said, 'You still here?'" The driver offered to go around the block and drop his only passenger off in front of the hotel, but Beltre decided to walk the short distance. First in a while: The pinch-hit home run by Ben Broussard that ended Saturday's perfect-game bid by the Yankees' Wang was the first time that has happened since Ken Phelps delivered a pinch-hit home run against former Mariners right-hander Brian Holman in the ninth inning on April 20, 1990, in Oakland, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Holman retired the next three batters to finish with a one-hitter. On deck: The Mariners say goodbye to the Big Apple and hello to Motown as they open a three-game series against the defending American League champion Tigers on Tuesday at Comerica Park. Left-hander Horacio Ramirez draws the starting nod for the Mariners, who won two of the three games played in Detroit last season. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. PT.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.