ARLINGTON -- Kyle Seager has not only moved into the starting lineup, he's moved quickly up in the batting order - hitting fifth now as a result of his team-leading .438 batting average through five games.
Seager seemed the odd man out at season's start, but when Mike Carp went down with a sprained shoulder on Opening Day, Chone Figgins moved into his spot at left field and Seager took over at third base.
In the ensuing four games, the left-hander went 7-for-16 with a double and five RBIs, including three straight multi-hit outings.
Counting spring games and Tokyo exhibitions, Seager has hit .400 (20-for-50) with five doubles, a triple, two home runs and nine RBIs in 14 games since March 13.
"He's one of these guys we felt needed to do a lot in the offseason and he did," manager Eric Wedge said. "You look at the way he stands up there with confidence and the way the ball comes off his bat, you really see him maturing as a hitter at the big league level. It's happening right in front of us."
Ramirez has a ball in Major League debut
ARLINGTON -- As several reporters gathered around Erasmo Ramirez before Tuesday's game in Texas, the Mariners rookie reliever said he needed a minute to finish something up.
Then he proceeded to take a Sharpie and carefully write the date of Monday's game against the Rangers, along with "Major League debut" and then listed his three strikeout victims as well as the home run by Texas standout Josh Hamilton on every available inch of the ball given to him after his first appearance.
"I don't know if it's really my ball," the 21-year-old said with his ever-present smile. "I think they just found one and gave it to me. But the memories are important. I wrote what I did ... and what they did to me."
Ramirez, 21, said he'll find a case and special place in his home for the memento after his three-inning, one-run debut.
"I spent a whole series in Oakland waiting for that moment," Ramirez said. "When the manager was going to the mound, I thought, 'All right,' because that meant I was going in. It was loud, but in that moment I didn't listen too much. I was quiet because it was just me, going to the mound to do what I had to do.
"After the first pitch, I started to get my confidence because I realized, this is the same game, just different hitters. They still have to swing the bat to get hits. Everything was just coming true. I tried to be not too perfect. I was happy because I was throwing strikes and keeping the ball down."
The youngster gave up just two hits from the fourth through sixth innings, slowing the Rangers' momentum on a night they hit four home runs and crossed the plate 11 times.
Ramirez will get a day or two off to recover from his three-inning stint, which is why manager Eric Wedge took him out when he did. The skipper knows he'll need the right-hander in his bullpen rotation as things go forward.
"I was really pleased with the way he threw the ball," Wedge said. "And it was his first time, so you have to take that into consideration. If you add that to it, it was even more impressive."
Wedge likes looking in players' eyes at key moments but said Ramirez presented a new challenge when he arrived at the mound.
"I couldn't get off his smile," Wedge said with a laugh. "Normally I do check the eyes, but I couldn't get off the smile when I was giving him the ball."
Wedge gives Ryan day off 'to watch'
ARLINGTON -- Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Brendan Ryan remains his starting shortstop, but he clearly wasn't happy about how the veteran infielder played in Monday's 11-5 loss to the Rangers and was sitting him out of Tuesday's game as a result.
"Sometimes you have to watch a game instead of play and this is one of those days for Mr. Ryan," Wedge said after replacing Ryan with Munenori Kawasaki, an eight-time Japanese All-Star in his first season with Seattle.
"When I talk about certain things that need to happen this year -- and there are conversations that have been had -- there's a level of accountability and responsibility that everybody has," Wedge said. "It's no more or less than that. I'm not going to dive in to details on it. I'll leave it at that."
Wedge said Ryan, 30, would be back in the lineup on Wednesday. He also indicated it wasn't just about one defensive play in the first inning Monday when Ryan threw wide of first base on a potential double-play ball that would have allowed Hector Noesi out of the first with a 4-0 lead. Instead, the Rangers scored twice to cut the lead to 4-2 and eventually stormed from behind.
Did he have a sit-down conversation with Ryan as to the message being sent?
"I think it's inferred," Wedge said.
As for Kawasaki, he's given the manager a ready alternative after a strong spring in which he hit .455. He's 2-for-7 in the past two games as well, filling in for Ryan on Saturday when the shortstop had a sore neck and playing second base on Monday after Jesus Montero sat out because of illness and Dustin Ackley moved to designated hitter.
"I like the way he's playing and the at-bats he's putting up," Wedge said. "Obviously he brings a lot of energy for our ballclub. So I've got him in there. I've said before, Brendan Ryan is our starting shortstop. But every once in a while you've got to watch a game."
• Outfielder Carlos Peguero, who'd gotten off to a scorching start at Triple-A Tacoma, suffered a medial meniscus tear in his left knee while rounding second base on Sunday. He'll have surgery on Thursday and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.
"We talked at the end of spring about how far he's come and he was off to a great start down there," Wedge said. "Hopefully it's just a bump in the road and we can get him right back."
• Rookie designated hitter Jesus Montero was back in the lineup Tuesday after missing one game with a stomach ache.
• Mike Carp, on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained right shoulder suffered on Opening Day in Japan, will play in a Minor League intrasquad contest on Wednesday in Peoria as he works toward a rehab stint.
Franklin Gutierrez also is working in Peoria to return from the partially torn pectoral muscle incurred early in camp.
"He's throwing well, he's feeling good," Wedge said of Carp. "He'll probably be a little ahead of Guti just because Guti didn't have Spring Training. Guti needs more reps. But Guti is doing well, too."