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Saturday, June 23, 2012 - Page updated at 08:30 p.m.
National League parks play havoc with M's lineup | Mariners notebook
By Larry Stone
Seattle Times staff reporter
SAN DIEGO — Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he's going to be happy to get the designated hitter back for good on Monday, so he won't have to try to keep wedging more players than he has spots for into the lineup.
On Friday, it was Casper Wells getting the start in left field and Franklin Gutierrez in center, with Michael Saunders on the bench. Wedge said he'll continue to juggle those three in this series against the Padres while playing Ichiro in right.
"He's playing good baseball, he's swinging the bat well," Wedge said of Wells. "We can't get everyone we want to get in there without the DH. So with Gut and with Michael, we have three games here, and the way it will probably work out, they'll each play two out of three games. We're just trying to do the best we can with it, personnel-wise."
Meanwhile, Jesus Montero sat out his second straight game, sandwiched by Thursday's off day.
"I wanted to do that," Wedge said. "I think it's a good time for him to have a couple of days, mentally and physically, where he can get away from it a little bit. He can still come out and have a good work day, and we'll get him back in there (Saturday)."
Montero is hitting .368 against left-handers (and Saunders .299), but Wedge didn't let that sway his decision despite the Padres starting lefty Clayton Richards.
"We've got a few guys we feel hit lefties well, but we also want them to go up and compete against righties," Wedge said. "You pick your spots with that. With Jesus, we just faced this guy not too long ago. I think from a matchup standpoint, we might even be better served to have him in there (Saturday)."
Hernandez is one
happy Heat fan
No one on the Mariners was happier to see the Miami Heat win the NBA title than Felix Hernandez, who watched the decisive Game 5 at a gathering of players at Brandon League's San Diego home.
Hernandez has never made a secret of his intense fondness for the Heat, often wearing a Dwyane Wade "El Heat" jersey in the clubhouse.
"It was a special night," Hernandez said of Miami's title-clinching win over Oklahoma City.
He noted that his choice of a favorite team in this series was bound to be popular in Seattle, which has been rooting actively against the Thunder.
"They should have a parade in Miami and a parade in Seattle," he said.
Justin Smoak added, "It was fun to sit there and watch, especially with Fifi (Hernandez). He's a Miami fan. He's always yelling at the TV, good or bad. It was good. He was all excited they won."
• Smoak, who missed Wednesday's game after fouling a ball off his right knee on Tuesday, was back in the lineup. He said it's still swollen and a little sore, but not enough to keep him out of action.
• Outfielder Chih-Hsien Chiang, taken off the 40-man roster when Oliver Perez was called up, cleared waivers and is back with Class AA Jackson.
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @StoneLarry
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