SEATTLE -- John Olerud threw the ceremonial opening pitch Tuesday night, which was caught by his son, John Olerud. The pair were at the game to promote the 15th Annual Play Sun Smart Day at Safeco Field, an event put on by the Mariners in conjunction with Major League Baseball and the American Academy of Dermatology to raise awareness of skin cancer.
"It's very cool. I really look forward to the opportunity to do this and especially at a time when we're trying to call attention to Play Sun Smart, and the baseball world, they're beginning to call more attention to sun safety, and I think that's a great thing," said the elder Dr. Olerud, head of Dermatology at the University of Washington Medical Center. He, like his son, was an All-American baseball player at Washington State University..
His son was a fan favorite during his five years with the Mariners, and played a pivotal role during their record 116-win season in 2001. That year, he was selected to the All-Star game with a .401 on-base percentage. He also earned three Gold Gloves for his superb defense at first base during his time with the Mariners.
"Manager Eric Wedge has always wanted me to come out," the younger Olerud said. "Very welcoming of the older players, guys that have been here before him that are in the area. I just haven't been able to make it out [before this]."
Morse limited by quad injury, to ease back into action
SEATTLE -- The Mariners have been without slugger Michael Morse since the outfielder strained his right quad against San Diego on May 28. Morse has been a bright spot offensively for the Mariners, tied for the team lead with 11 home runs.
The Mariners may not miss Morse's power much longer, as manager Eric Wedge hinted before Tuesday's game that he would consider using the outfielder as a pinch-hitter, if necessary, providing he looked good in pregame warmups.
Morse didn't end up factoring into Seattle's game plan on Monday, and Wedge reiterated that he would be cautious with him.
"That's the big part, and making sure that we don't put him in harm's way," Wedge said. "Also, when we do put him back out there, he's going to be somewhat restricted with his running. We have to make sure he understands what that line is so he doesn't injure himself further."
Morse took both early and regular batting practice on Tuesday, but said that's never been the issue and that he understands that his ability to run is the larger concern.
"I've been able to hit all along. I'm running at 75 percent. That means I might stop at second and not leg out the triples," Morse said with a grin.
With an early game on Wednesday, Morse figures the likelihood is Wedge will hold him back until Thursday night's series opener against the Yankees.
Sucre hit on left wrist by bat, leaves game early
SEATTLE -- Mariners catcher Jesus Sucre was hit on the left wrist by Alexei Ramirez's bat on a backswing in the fifth inning Tuesday and left the game a half-inning later.
"He finished the inning and was going to try, and he got in the on-deck circle and just couldn't go, so that's when we made the change," manager Eric Wedge said.
Sucre went 0-for-2 before he was replaced by pinch-hitter Kelly Shoppach in the bottom of the fifth. Wedge said that "something small" showed up on X-rays, and that Sucre would be evaluated further Wednesday morning.
Sucre was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on May 24 after hitting .302 with the Rainiers. The rookie was playing in his eighth MLB game, and entered with a .208 batting average. The Mariners are already thin at catcher, with Jesus Montero on the disabled list for four-to-six weeks.
"[General manager] Jack [Zduriencik] and I just started talking about it. We're going to talk some more when we're done here," Wedge said. "So we're kind of in a pickle here, but we're going to have to try to cover ourselves."
Draft prep continues in advance of making No. 12 pick
SEATTLE -- The Mariners brought a handful of prospects to Safeco Field again Tuesday as they began wrapping up preparations for the 2013 First-Year Player Draft that will run Thursday through Saturday.
The Mariners will make the 12th pick in the first round, plus their second-round pick (49th overall) on Thursday's first day. Rounds 3-10 will take place on Friday, with Seattle's first pick there coming 85th overall in the third round. The final 30 rounds are set for Saturday.
"Up to about 3 o'clock today we've been working out guys," said Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara. "We're just trying to get as much information as humanly possible on every player that we're considering at 12 in the country. We feel good about where we're picking. The unsung guys that work with me, they've gotten after it this year big time. We've seen a lot more players this year, because that's what happens when you're picking 12 instead of two or three."
McNamara said again the Mariners will take the best player available, regardless of position or age. But he did indicate there's an interesting group of high-school athletes this year.
McNamara isn't about to name names, but the top group of prep athletes being mentioned in the mid-first round area on most Draft sites include outfielder Austin Meadows from Loganville, Ga., left-handed pitchers Trey Ball from New Castle, Ind., and Ian Clarkin from San Diego, right-hander Phil Bickford from Westlake Village, Calif., catcher Reese McGuire from Covington, Wash., first baseman Dominic Smith of Gardena, Calif., and shortstop J.P. Crawford of Lakewood, Calif.
"If you didn't do your homework in the summer and watch these guys against competitive teams and players, you might be in trouble this year," McNamara said. "We keep saying in that room on the high-school guys, 'Hey, let's not forget we spent all that time on the road in the summer and fall watching these guys play.' They were playing against the best players with wood bats, so that's where you learn a lot.
"We call these guys advanced high-school players. From their sophomore to senior years, they're on travel teams and in showcases, on Team USA, they're all over the country. They know the lifestyle a little before they even sign a pro contract. They go to the Minor Leagues and it's not like a big adjustment for them.
"That's the biggest change in the industry for me," McNamara said. "Ten years ago, you go see a guy in the middle of nowhere and he's got the best tools, you take him and don't look back. Now you get to see them in so many different situations, real competitive in the summer.
"There's a downside to that, too, because I've flown across the country at times this season to see one player get intentionally walked four times. You just stand there thinking, 'This is what I do for a living?' But you try to remember those situations in the summer when the guy is facing the best high-school left-hander in the country."
• Raul Ibanez's two-run blast on Monday night was his 10th of the season. Ibanez has reached double digit homers in each of his last 13 seasons, dating back to 2001. It was also his first home run as 41-year-old, making him the fifth player in club history to homer at 41 or older. He then homered again on Tuesday for No. 11, tying Morse for the team lead.
• Fans often lament that shortstop Brendan Ryan's hitting negates his stellar defensive abilities, but Ryan is hitting .300 (21-for-70) and has reached base in 16 of 20 games since May 14.
• The Mariners are 6-1 on Mondays, but improved to just 2-8 on Tuesdays with their 7-4 victory over the White Sox.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.