ARLINGTON -- Mariners manager Eric Wedge said that he's unlikely to use closer Brandon League in anything other than a three-out save situation the rest of season. Such a situation arose on Tuesday night, when League could have entered in the eighth but wound up not pitching at all after the Rangers tied the score that inning.
"I'm not saying it's beyond the realm of possibility, but I think right now it's better to keep him in that ninth-inning role," Wedge said. "But I think in the future he can be a one-plus guy."
Though League has appeared in 285 Major League games in relief, he is still new to closing consistently, with a career-high 26 saves this season.
"One-plus [innings] is a big difference [from] just getting those last three outs," Wedge said. "It's tough enough to get those last three outs, but to ask him to come in in the middle of a situation in the eighth inning, then sit back down and go back out there and run through the ninth inning, it's a significant step."
League has pitched in 47 games this season, finishing 43, and has recorded more than three outs only once, getting four in a loss on May 8.
After big night, Kennedy sits with sore heel
ARLINGTON -- Mariners infielder Adam Kennedy had one of his strongest nights at the plate in recent weeks on Tuesday, then wound up being held from Wednesday's starting lineup after aggravating an injury to his left heel on a two-run triple the night before.
Kennedy said that he was available to play on Wednesday if necessary but that his plantar fasciitis was a little worse after Tuesday, when he went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in a 7-6 loss to the Rangers. Because of the injury, manager Eric Wedge decided to give Kennedy some time off.
"With the left-hander [Derek Holland] out there and with the off-day tomorrow, I want to make sure not to make this a bigger problem than it is," Wedge said.
Before Tuesday, Kennedy struggled through a 14-game stretch in which he hit .137.
Sitting out Wednesday meant that Kennedy missed a few at-bats in one of his favorite places to hit. He's a career .324 hitter with 39 RBIs in 58 games at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. He has more homers (seven) there than in any park other than Angel Stadium (34).
"I can't imagine there's a player in baseball that doesn't like hitting here," Kennedy said. "It's warm, the ball carries really well, the dirt's hard. There's a number of things that favor the hitters."
With fresh legs as DH, Ichiro gets 30th steal
ARLINGTON -- Ichiro Suzuki started Wednesday's game against the Rangers in a rather unfamiliar position, serving as the Mariners' designated hitter in manager Eric Wedge's attempt to keep his legs fresh over the final two months of the season.
Wedge's move seemed to pay immediate dividends. Ichiro singled softly to center to lead off the game, then stole his 30th base of the season. Ichiro is now the 16th player in Major League history to reach the 30-steal milestone in 10 seasons.
Wedge has used the 37-year-old at DH more often lately -- three times in the past seven games.
"I talked to him the other day -- I want to try to keep him as fresh as we can as we work down the stretch," Wedge said. "If we can DH him once or twice a week, I don't think it's a bad thing. His lower half is such a big part of what he does, whether it be at home plate or on the bases or in the outfield. As we get in the middle of August through the end of the season, if we can help him stay that much more fresh ... I think it makes sense."
In 115 games, Ichiro has played right field 108 times and at DH only seven. He had never served as DH more than six times in a season prior to Tuesday, and he has only filled that spot 33 times in his 11-year Major League career.
Wilson sits with 'physical exhaustion'
ARLINGTON -- Mariners shortstop Jack Wilson was originally in Wednesday's starting lineup against the Rangers but was scratched about two hours before game time with what manager Eric Wedge called "physical exhaustion."
"He struggled to get through the game yesterday, was able to make it through, and then really felt wiped out today," Wedge said.
Tuesday's game-time temperature, 105, tied the Mariners' record for hottest starting temperature, and Tuesday's local high, 107, broke a 69-year-old record.
"I'm sure that has something to do with [Wilson's fatigue]," Wedge said.
Wilson went 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and a walk in Tuesday's 7-6 loss to Texas.
First baseman Justin Smoak is on track to return on Friday from a left thumb injury he sustained on Aug. 2, manager Eric Wedge said. Smoak again took batting practice from the left side on Wednesday.
With his homer in the third inning on Wednesday, Mike Carp extended his hitting streak to 11 games. The last Mariners rookie to have a streak of 11 games or more was Kenji Johjima, in 2006.
Counting Tuesday's 7-6 loss to the Rangers, the Mariners have dropped 10 games on walk-off hits and 12 overall in their opponents' final at-bat. Two of the four losses on the current road trip have been walk-offs.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.