Red-hot Wells remains in starting lineup

Red-hot Wells remains in starting lineup

SAN DIEGO -- Casper Wells was back in the lineup again on Friday for the Mariners, as manager Eric Wedge looked to keep his hot bat going.

The 27-year-old outfielder has started six of nine games since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma, and has come in as a late-inning replacement in two others.

Wells brought a seven-game hitting streak into Friday's series opener against the Padres, having hit .524 (11-for-24) with five runs, six RBIs and one home run during that span.

"A lot of it was just getting to play again," Wells said. "The anxiety and anticipation builds up when you don't get to play much. Getting down there [to Triple-A] and playing got me at ease and got me to trust what I was working on.

"The last time I'd really played was Spring Training and even then I was kind of behind the eight-ball, after not playing for such a while with everything that happened last year. So it was kind of like my Spring Training, going down to Tacoma, and now I'm back here and ready to go."

Wells was hitting just .213 and playing sporadically at the time of his demotion to Triple-A on May 23, but has raised his average to .309 (21-for-68) with his hot streak since his return.

"I'm just playing with the mindset of doing whatever I can to help the team win," Wells said. "That's the only thing that needs to be done. So I'm going up there to battle the pitcher and be ready for every pitch. Then when that at-bat is over, you let it go and everything falls into place as it should.

"I'm trying to eliminate a lot of thoughts, just simplify it, go up and look for a pitch I can hit and hit it hard."

Wedge is looking to split time between Wells, Michael Saunders and Franklin Gutierrez in left and center field. Saunders was the odd man out Friday as Wells got the call against left-hander Clayton Richard.

"He's playing good baseball, he's swinging the bat well," Wedge said. "We can't get everybody we want in there without the DH, so with Gut and Michael, we've got three games here and they'll probably all end up playing two of the three. We're just trying to do the best we can with it."