Rookie third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo wasn't expecting the kind of opportunity he's now getting.
With the weekend news that Adrian Beltre is done for the year in preparation for surgery Thursday on his left thumb and left shoulder, Tuiasosopo is likely to get most of the final 14 starts of the season at third base.
The Beltre surgeries take place in Seattle on Thursday, with Dr. Carlton Keck working on the thumb and Mariners medical director Dr. Edward Khalfayan on the shoulder.
"Back in spring training, (former hitting coach) Jeff Pentland told me he didn't feel good about Adrian's thumb," manager Jim Riggleman said. "He said it was still messed up. And now we're in mid-September and Beltre's played all this time with it.
"He plays with pain. He's an animal. He's a guy you dream about managing."
Meanwhile, most of the final 14 starts at third base should belong to Tuiasosopo, giving him a chance to show what he can do with regular work and maybe smooth his path toward the 2009 roster.
To this point, he's played adequate defense and has a .200 average with three hits in 15 at-bats. He should at least triple his at-bat total before the season is over.
ANGELS 4, MARINERS 3: The Angels completed a four-game sweep of the Mariners when Chone Figgins' long flyball fell on the warning track against a five-man Seattle infield in the bottom of the ninth Sunday.
2B Sean Rodriguez tripled with one out, and RF Ichiro Suzuki came in to be part of a five-man infield in the hope that RHP Roy Corcoran could get a groundball and keep the game tied. But Figgins hit the first pitch to where Ichiro might have caught it if he were in position, but caught or not, Figgins' ball was a game-winner.
RHP Felix Hernandez pitched seven innings and allowed three runs despite pitching with some minor leg pain.
--3B Adrian Beltre played in his final game of the season Sunday in Anaheim. Beltre has opted to have surgery on his left thumb and left shoulder Thursday in Seattle. Because of the four to five months listed as the recovery time for the thumb surgery, he and the Mariners agreed that getting a jump on the surgery was the best way to make sure he's fully operational for spring training.
--2B Jose Lopez made his first career start at first base Saturday, but it won't be his last. Manager Jim Riggleman wants Lopez to spend a little time at both first base and DH in the final two weeks of the season so the club can get a longer look at rookie 2B Luis Valbuena. Lopez has no problem with that, but he's made it clear he wants to be back at second base for the 2009 season.
--LHP Jarrod Washburn, who hasn't pitched this month because of a left abdominal strain, could return Tuesday, pitching in relief. RHP Brandon Morrow is scheduled to start the game, and manager Jim Riggleman said it's possible that Washburn, who last started on Aug. 30, could return to active duty midway through the game, if needed.
--RF Ichiro Suzuki has led the Mariners in batting average in each of his first seven big-league seasons. With two weeks to go in the season, however, LF Raul Ibanez pulled ahead of Ichiro .312-.311 over the weekend. Ibanez has 181 hits, matching his career best, set in 2006. Ichiro, in quest of his eighth consecutive 200-hit season, has 195 hits.
--Former GM Bill Bavasi was an unexpected visitor to Sunday's game in Angel Stadium. Bavasi was the Mariners' general manager the first half of the season before being fired. Bavasi, who now works in scouting and player development for the Cincinnati Reds, spent most of the game visiting with Lee Pelekoudas, who took over as GM when Bavasi was let go.
BY THE NUMBERS: 27 -- Blown saves by the Seattle bullpen through Sept. 12, tying a club record.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "If there is someone in this league who is 30 games better than us, I'll kiss your behind on Main Street and give you half an hour to draw a crowd." -- Manager Jim Riggleman, on Sept. 12 when a Mariners loss dropped Seattle 32 1/2 games behind the AL West-leading Angels.
MEDICAL WATCH: 3B Adrian Beltre (torn ligament in left thumb) sat out Sept. 9-10. He returned to action Sept. 11 and played through Sept. 14 before shutting things down for the season to have surgery Sept. 18 on his thumb and his left shoulder. Recovery time will be four to five months.
LHP Jarrod Washburn (left abdominal strain) missed his scheduled start Sept. 5. He played catch Sept. 9, and could return as a reliever on Sept. 16.
RHP Carlos Silva (back pain) was scratched from his Sept. 7 start. He is expected to return to the rotation Sept. 15.
C Jeff Clement (sore left knee) hasn't played since Sept. 3. He had season-ending surgery Sept. 9.
LHP Erik Bedard (sore left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to July 5. He was unable to throw July 21, but an MRI the next day showed the same impingement he has had. He started throwing again in early August, but his throwing program was halted in late August when discomfort returned to his left shoulder. He resumed throwing Aug. 22. He threw his second bullpen session Sept. 9, but it's uncertain if he'll pitch again this season.
INF/OF Willie Bloomquist (strained right hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 10, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Sept. 2. He is out for the season.
RF Mike Morse (dislocated left shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list April 14, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on Sept. 1. He had season-ending surgery April 22. He was hitting and fielding in pregame drills in August, and he will go to the Mariners' fall Instructional League camp.