Mariners veteran Chris Young, who has an excellent history of success at Safeco Field, takes on a youngster still seeking the first road win of his career Friday when Seattle faces the Indians' Trevor Bauer in the opener of a three-game series in Seattle.
Bauer, the third overall pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, is 0-4 with a 7.53 ERA in seven career road starts with the D-backs and Indians. The hard-throwing right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA in three road games this year for Cleveland.
Young, on the flip side, has a decided comfort level at Safeco Field, where he's 6-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 10 starts in his career.
The Mariners have won eight of their past 11 games and are coming off a series win against the Red Sox, inserting themselves into the American League playoff picture at 42-37 by posting a 15-9 record in June.
The Indians have been on the flip side of that equation, losing four of their last five to drop to 38-40, though they are coming off a 6-1 victory over the D-backs on Wednesday. Both teams have Thursday off before resuming play in Friday's series opener at Safeco Field.
Young has been a big boost for the Mariners' rotation since signing a one-year deal just prior to the start of the regular season after being cut by the Nationals.
The 35-year-old right-hander is 6-4 with a 3.23 ERA in 14 starts and said he's finally feeling fully healthy for the first time in years after undergoing surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome last year, which relieved nerve pressure in his shoulder that had led to a pair of shoulder surgeries since his All-Star season with the Padres in 2007.
The 6-foot-10 Young has kept opposing hitters off-balance with his high arm angle and ability to pitch up and down in the strike zone.
"It's an amazing story," Royals manager Ned Yost said after Young held his team to one run and three hits over seven frames in a 2-1 victory for Seattle last Saturday. "You watch a lot of video on the guy and the fastball is 85 to 88 miles an hour, it's straight. He changes speeds on a slider and a really nice changeup. But nobody sees it."
Young has faced the Indians just once in his career when he threw eight scoreless innings with just two hits in a victory for the Rangers at Jacobs Field in 2005.
Bauer has even less of a resume against the Mariners as the 23-year-old right-hander will be making his first appearance against Seattle. Robinson Cano is the only Mariner to have faced Bauer, going 1-for-3 with a strikeout in a game for the Yankees.
Bauer is 2-3 with a 4.40 ERA in eight starts for Cleveland since a promotion from Triple-A this season. He gave up four runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings a no-decision in his last outing against the Tigers in a game the Indians lost, 5-4.
Mariners: Saunders likely to return on Friday
Mariners right fielder Michael Saunders is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Thursday, which means he likely will rejoin the roster Friday after Seattle's off-day. Saunders was at Safeco Field doing some pregame outfield work on Wednesday after hitting .450 (9-for-20) in five rehab starts with Triple-A Tacoma as he returns from a sore right shoulder.
Two other injured Mariners -- first baseman Justin Smoak (strained quad) and designated hitter Corey Hart (strained hamstring) -- apparently will remain with Tacoma as the Rainiers head to El Paso, Texas, for a four-game series starting Thursday.
Manager Lloyd McClendon was non-committal on when and of the three might rejoin the club, but noted that El Paso is close to Houston, where the Mariners open a three-game road series Monday.
Both Smoak and Hart are eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list as soon as they're deemed ready. Smoak has hit .222 (6-for-27) in seven rehab games, while Hart is batting .294 (5-for-17) in four games. Position players are eligible to spend up to 20 days in the Minors on a rehab stint.
Indians: Masterson won't face Felix on Sunday
Right-hander Justin Masterson has been scratched from his Sunday start against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez due to a sore right knee.
Masterson lasted just four innings in Tuesday's marathon loss to the D-backs and manager Terry Francona has decided to push his next start back at least two days. If a side throwing session in the next few days goes OK, he could face the Dodgers on Tuesday.
"He's been pitching through it, but it's hard for him to generate power [off his push-off leg]," Francona said.
The Indians haven't announced a replacement, but it's expected that left-hander T.J. House will be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to make the start. House is 0-1 with a 4.88 ERA in six games (five starts) for Cleveland this season.
• The Mariners have already clinched a winning record in June, their second straight month with a winning record for the first time since July-August 2012.
• The Indians won their season series with Seattle 5-2 last year and haven't lost a season series to the Mariners since going 4-5 in 2010. The two clubs meet for three games in Seattle this weekend, then play a three-game set at Progressive Field on July 29-31.