The Mariners have had mixed results with their crop of young hitters.
The team demoted Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero to Triple-A Tacoma after the two struggled at the big league level this season. Justin Smoak has endured ups and downs throughout his tenure in Seattle.
Third baseman Kyle Seager, on the other hand, has excelled. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games on Friday. Over that stretch, he is hitting .356 (16-for-45). He has contributed in high-pressure situations, as seen when he clubbed a game-tying grand slam with two strikes and two outs in the bottom of the 14th frame in Wednesday's 16-inning loss to the White Sox.
"He's been a great example of a younger guy handling the game almost like a veteran guy and learning much quicker than some of the other younger guys," manager Eric Wedge said. "The key part of that for me is just learning more about yourself mentally, fundamentally, physically, and then applying that learning curve right away so you're a better player sooner than most. And I think that he's done a fantastic job of that."
In his first full Major League season last year, Seager swatted 20 home runs and tallied 86 RBIs. What has made Seager so successful? Wedge pointed to the 25-year-old's overall makeup.
"I think that for a younger player, he gets it better than most," Wedge said. "It's everything. It's your personality, it's your upbringing, it's your history, it's your experiences both on and off the field, it's what you went through in college, what you went through in the Minor Leagues, how you handle initial success and failure at the big leagues. There's just so many X-factors involved with it. It's part of who you are."
On Saturday, Seager will seek to wreak havoc upon Yankees southpaw Andy Pettitte, who is a week shy of his 41st birthday. Pettitte returned from a stint on the disabled list to pitch 4 2/3 innings on Monday. He allowed four runs on seven hits and did not factor into the decision in New York's 7-4 win against Cleveland.
"I feel good about the team winning, putting some runs up on the board," Pettitte said. "As far as me, personally, it's frustrating because we finally put some runs on the board and then you give the lead [away]. I'm never going to be happy about that."
Yankees: Wang granted release
Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang exercised an out clause in his Minor League contract on Friday and was granted his release.
Wang, 33, was 4-4 with a 2.33 ERA in nine starts at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He is reportedly close to signing a Major League deal with the Blue Jays, according to FOXSports.com.
"His numbers were good," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "His velocity was down a little bit. We had a lot of 87s and 88s [mph], I think, and at this time we just didn't really have space for him."
Mariners: Saunders tabbed to start
Joe Saunders (4-5, 5.20 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Mariners on Saturday. He beat the White Sox in his last outing on Monday, when he held Chicago to one run on five hits over 6 1/3 innings. He'll have the comfort of his home ballpark when he faces the Yankees. Saunders is 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in six starts at Safeco Field, compared to 0-4 with a 9.00 ERA in six starts on the road.
Slumping Seattle center fielder Michael Saunders (.212 average) is expected to return to the lineup Saturday. He wasn't in the starting lineup on Friday, but entered the contest on defense.