"The whole thing about Willie is that he does his job every day," Hargrove said. "My experience in the last 2 1/2 seasons is that Willie is best when he plays in spurts. And that's the definition of a utility player.
"Willie's exciting to watch. He's got close to 100 at-bats now (85), and he's got a lot of big hits for us already."
--LHP Horacio Ramirez (left shoulder) is scheduled to start an injury rehabilitation assignment Saturday, pitching for Class AAA Tacoma. He's expected to make at least three rehab starts before being activated, so he's not likely to return until after the All-Star break.
--RHP J.J. Putz not only has 22 saves in 22 chances, but he has a 0.36 ERA in games with a save on the line. And with each success his reputation is growing, although that seems to be of little concern to him with the Mariners back in the hunt in the AL West. "I'm more happy that our team name is kind of getting out there, that we're for real," Putz said. "We're definitely going to be a team that's going to contend this year."
--LHP Ryan Feierabend got only one ground ball in his five innings of work Wednesday against Boston. But it was a big one, getting Boston DH David Ortiz to bounce out to 2B Jose Lopez to end the fifth inning with the bases loaded. That got Feierabend out of the game with five shutout innings just five days after he'd allowed nine runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Reds. "My goal was to get a ground ball or get him out any way possible," Feierabend said. "I was very fortunate to get that ground ball with Ortiz."
--CF Ichiro Suzuki had 10 putouts in the first nine innings Wednesday and 11 total in the 11-inning, 2-1 win over Boston, one putout shy of the record for an extra-inning game. Five of those putouts came in succession.
--LHP George Sherrill had pitched in four consecutive games before Thursday's day off. Asked what he was going to be doing on the off day when most of his teammates were going to be involved in a golf tournament, he said: "The only thing I'm going to do is put a dent in my couch."
--LF Raul Ibanez, who has not played since coming out of the June 23 game with a right hamstring injury, could return to the lineup Friday against Toronto. However, manager Mike Hargrove said the club would put off Ibanez's return if there is any thought that he's not quite ready. "You don't fool around with hamstring injuries," Hargrove said.
LF Raul Ibanez (strained right hamstring) was injured June 23 and hasn't played since. He may return to the lineup June 29.
RF Jose Guillen (sore elbow) sat out June 23-25. He returned to the lineup June 26.
RHP Cha Seung Baek (shoulder) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 17.
RHP Chris Reitsma (sore right elbow) went on the disabled list June 11.
RHP Jon Huber (elbow) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 7.
RHP Sean White (right biceps tendinitis) went on the disabled list June 2. He threw his first bullpen session June 27.
LHP Horacio Ramirez (left shoulder tightness) went on the disabled list May 25. He threw his first bullpen session June 19. He threw a 50-pitch simulated game June 25. He is scheduled to start an injury rehabilitation assignment June 30, pitching for Class AAA Tacoma. He's expected to make at least three rehab starts before being activated, so he's not likely to return until after the All-Star break.
RHP Mark Lowe (right elbow) had a second surgery on the elbow this spring, a move designed to remove scar tissue. He threw a simulated game June 27 and will throw another July 1.