Olson ready to take his cuts again

Olson ready to take his cuts again

SAN DIEGO -- The Mariners will have two players in the starting lineup for Wednesday night's game against the Padres with career batting averages higher than .300, and they will bat back-to-back.

One of them is Ichiro Suzuki, the leadoff hitter. The other is Garrett Olson, the ninth-place hitter.

And, as it turns out, both have used infield hits to keep their averages well above .300.

Ichiro leads the Major Leagues with 26 infield hits this season, which has helped him to the American League's highest average.

Olson knows a thing or two about infield hits. He has one infield hit, a bunt single against the Nationals last season, when he was pitching for the Orioles. He is now batting .333 (1-for-3) in his big league career.

"It was supposed to be a sacrifice bunt," the Mariners left-hander said, "but it went into kind of a triangle, between the pitcher, first baseman and second baseman. It ended up being a hit, although I think it had more to do with my blinding speed and I was able to beat it out."

Well, that's his story and he's sticking to it.

Olson had a big smile on his face late Tuesday afternoon when he walked out of the visiting clubhouse at PETCO Park carrying one of the three bats he received about two weeks ago.

He went to the indoor batting cage to work on his bunting and "go-the-other-way" hitting techniques.

"I got to hit in two games last year, in Milwaukee and again in Washington," he said. "In Milwaukee, I had a sac bunt and then bunted into a double play, which is never a good thing. But in Washington I redeemed myself by hitting a sacrifice fly to right field.

"I also grounded out to the shortstop and then got the bunt hit."

If he gets three at-bats in his start against the Padres on Wednesday night, it means that he either is pitching deep into the game, the Mariners' offense is clicking on all cylinders or both.

This will be his first outing against the Padres, who will start right-hander Chad Gaudin in the middle game of the three-game series between the Spring Training partners.

Pitching matchup
SEA: LHP Garrett Olson (1-1, 4.26 ERA)
A gutsy effort against his former Orioles teammates on Thursday earned the left-hander another opportunity to start. Olson's first victory with the Mariners wasn't a thing of beauty -- he allowed two runs on five hits, walked three and struck out one in five innings -- but he rebounded nicely after a rain delay to save the Seattle bullpen. Olson's at his best when he attacks hitters and lets his fielders do some work behind him. When he starts to nibble tentatively at the plate, he gets in trouble.

SD: RHP Chad Gaudin (2-5, 6.16 ERA)
Gaudin was roughed up on Friday, when he allowed eight runs, all earned, on 10 hits in a loss to the Angels. Granted, he was facing a talented lineup and many of the hits he allowed were of the blooper variety, but the fact is Gaudin hasn't executed his pitches very well in recent weeks. He's now allowed 13 earned runs in his last two starts, spanning eight innings. Granted, Gaudin has been able to mostly avoid walks recently, which was a stumbling block early in the season. But he's still been very hittable.

First baseman Russell Branyan will play in Wednesday night's game and leave on Thursday morning to attend the funeral of his grandfather. He is expected to rejoin the team in time for Friday night's series opener against the Dodgers at Safeco Field. ... Left-hander Erik Bedard, who missed his last start and has been pushed back to Saturday, will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday to test his left shoulder, which has had some slight inflammation. He threw for about eight minutes on flat ground on Tuesday afternoon. ... Branyan's 15 home runs in 56 games is the second-highest total posted by a Mariners player in their first 60 games with the organization. Only Steve Balboni hit more -- 16 in his first 60 games in 1988. ... Ichiro stole his 10th base on Saturday, making him one of five players in the Majors this season to have 10 or more steals in each of the past nine seasons. The others are Jimmy Rollins, Juan Pierre, Derek Jeter and Bobby Abreu.

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Up next
• Thursday: Mariners (Brandon Morrow, 0-3, 5.91) at Padres (Josh Geer, 1-2, 6.14), 12:35 p.m. PT
• Friday: Mariners (Jarrod Washburn, 3-5, 3.30) vs. D-backs (Jon Garland, 4-7, 5.45), 7:10 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Mariners (Erik Bedard, 5-2, 2.47) vs. D-backs (Billy Buckner, 2-3, 7.36), 7:10 p.m. PT

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.