SEATTLE -- Outfielder Michael Saunders was out of the lineup for the ninth time in the past 10 games on Monday as the Mariners opened a three-game series with the Red Sox as he continues working his way back from a strained right groin muscle.
Saunders tried to return on Friday against the Angels, but he felt the muscle tighten when he chased a line drive down the right-field line and came out after the fourth inning. Saunders did some pregame work Monday and manager Eric Wedge said it was up in the air whether he'd be available for pinch-hitting duties.
"He's getting a little better every day, so we'll see how he feels after he has some more activity," Wedge said. "I just want to work it to the point where when we get him in there next time, we can keep him there."
Saunders has been taking batting practice regularly and doing agility work, but he needs to be able to handle the quick burst required in the field before he can return to the outfield.
"It's more breaking and stopping like we saw on that ball down the line the other day," said Wedge. "It's just there when he really gets after it."