BOSTON -- Left fielder Michael Saunders, bothered by a sore right shoulder for more than three weeks, said he will have a "precautionary" MRI when the team returns from its current road trip.
"We think it has something to do with the muscle in there," Saunders said on Monday. "Just to be safe, I'll have an MRI on Thursday. We're thinking, and hoping, that it's nothing major."
Saunders hurt the shoulder when he rammed it into the wall at Safeco Field trying to catch a ball hit by Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz on Aug. 5.
Saunders has played five games since then, going 2-for-19, including an 0-for-4 collar on Saturday afternoon against the Yankees.
"It bothers me more when I swing than when I throw, and I think that's a positive sign," he said. "We're just treating it every day."
He will be available for pinch-running and defensive duty during the three-game series against the Red Sox.
"It's never fun to have these nagging things," Saunders said. "Hopefully it won't get any worse by playing."
Left side of infield has new look in Boston
BOSTON -- The left side of the Mariners' infield had a completely different look Monday night.
Chris Woodward got his second start at shortstop since being joining the team from Triple-A Tacoma last week, and Matt Tuiasosopo started at third in place of Jose Lopez.
But the lineup switches had nothing to do with the cool, wet weather that prevented the Mariners and Red Sox from doing their pregame drills on the field at Fenway Park.
"We're giving Lopey a day off and giving Tui a chance to play third," interim manager Daren Brown said. "It's the same thing with [Josh] Wilson. We're giving him a day [off]. Josh has played quite a bit the last month-and-a-half."
Wilson has handled most of the shortstop duties since Jack Wilson went on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 8 with a fractured bone in his right hand.
Lopez, batting .239 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs, has started 117 games at third base this season and was the designated hitter in two others.
The series opener against the Red Sox was Tuiasosopo's seventh start at third. He also has started seven games at first base, two at shortstop and seven in left field.
With right-hander John Lackey starting for the Red Sox on Monday, Brown put Ryan Langerhans in left field.
Mariners seeing fluctuation in weather
BOSTON -- Talk about extremes.
When the Mariners began their longest road trip of the season on Aug. 13 in Cleveland, the temperature and humidity were in the 80s for all three games against the Indians.
It was equally hot and humid in Baltimore for the series opener and then cooled off a bit. The first two games played against the Yankees in New York were played in terrific weather conditions.
But it rained during most of Sunday's series finale and was even worse on Monday in Boston, where it was wet, windy and in the 60s.
"We started out this trip with guys sweating through two or three shirts a night," interim manager Daren Brown said. "We come in here and it's time to get the jackets out."
Minor League playoff games at Safeco Field
BOSTON -- There might be some playoff games played at Safeco Field this season after all.
With a $30 million renovation project on Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Wash., scheduled to being on Sept. 3, an agreement has been worked out between the Mariners, Pacific Coast League and Triple-A Tacoma to play the first round of the PCL playoffs at Safeco Field -- if the Rainiers win the league's North Division.
The division champion will host Games 3-5 in the best-of-five series, which would be played at Safeco Field on Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. PT and, if necessary, Sept. 11 (noon) and Sept. 12 (7 p.m.).
Playoff tickets are set to go on sale on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 10 a.m. PT and can be purchased at www.tacomarainiers.com, at the Rainiers front office, located at 1804 W. Union Ave. from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by calling (253) 752-7707.
Tickets will also be available for purchase through the Mariners' box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at www.mariners.com or by calling (206) 622-HITS. Tacoma Rainiers season-ticket holders can purchase their playoff packages now by calling (253) 752-7707.
Former Mariners coach Larry Bowa will become the next Major League player on the all-time hit list to be passed by Ichiro Suzuki. Bowa had 2,191 hits during his productive career, spent mostly with the Phillies, and Ichiro went into Monday night's game one hit behind the current Dodgers coach. ... Minor League infielder Nick Franklin hit his 20th home run of the season for Class A Clinton, becoming the third player in the farm system this season to have at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.