Chavez hits leadoff against Rangers Friday

Chavez hits leadoff against Rangers Friday

SEATTLE -- Veteran outfielder Endy Chavez was batting leadoff for the Mariners on Friday night against the Rangers, immediately inserted into that role after being called up from Triple-A Tacoma the night before.

Chavez, 35, was added to the roster after Michael Saunders went on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained shoulder. With Franklin Gutierrez needing a day off, manager Eric Wedge called on the 12-year veteran, who was hitting .429 after six games in Tacoma.

"I've been playing, so I'm ready," said Chavez, who signed a Minor League deal with the Mariners late in spring after being released by the Royals. "I knew it could be awhile, but if these guys needed me, I'd be here. I never thought it would be this fast."

Chavez has played in 975 Major League games. Of his 601 starts, 430 have come in center field and he's led off 225 times. Wedge didn't have a lot of options when he was making out his lineup, but Chavez fit the bill.

"Our two former leadoff hitters, one is on the bench today and the other is banged up," said Wedge. "Endy has done a lot of that. He's an experienced guy."

Chavez was inserted as a pinch runner in the eighth inning on Thursday and wound up getting tagged out at the plate by catcher A.J. Pierzynski on a suicide squeeze bunt by Brendan Ryan.

Chavez said he double-checked with third-base coach Jeff Datz after seeing the squeeze sign.

"I was ready. I knew what was going on and what we were doing," Chavez said. "It was pretty close, but I think they made the throw in time. He blocked the plate with his foot, so I tried to kick it out of there, but they had time to tag me before I got in there."

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.