ANAHEIM -- Willie Bloomquist returned to the Mariners lineup for the first time since 2008 on Wednesday, getting the start at third base in place of Kyle Seager as Seattle closed out its season-opening three-game series with the Angels.
Bloomquist, 36, signed a two-year deal in the offseason to serve as a utility player and didn't play in the first two games. But manager Lloyd McClendon believes in keeping all his players sharp as they come out of Spring Training and went with the veteran right-handed hitter against Angels lefty Hector Santiago.
"He's the last one to play for us," McClendon said. "We'd like to get him in there and give him a start. It gives Seager a break against these lefties a little bit. Get him freshened up and ready for Oakland."
Seager isn't used to getting time off. He played a team-high 160 games last year and 155 in 2012. His stretch of 106 consecutive starts from May 24 to Sept. 19 last year was the longest streak in club history for a third baseman.
But Seager is still looking for his swing this spring, having hit .191 in Cactus League play and going 1-for-7 in the first two games, including an uncharacteristic three-strikeout performance in an 0-for-4 outing Tuesday.
Bloomquist began his career with the Mariners from 2002-08, then played with the Royals, Reds and D-backs before returning to Seattle as a free agent. A career .271 hitter, he batted .302 and .317 for Arizona the past two seasons in 128 games.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. 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.