Seattle Mariners - PlayerWatch

OF Michael Saunders has gotten well off Boston pitching this week. After a horrific two-month stretch -- he hit .204 in May and June -- Saunders has started to hit as of late, going 5-for-11 with three doubles and four RBIs in the first three games of the Red Sox series. He had a double in Wednesday's game.

2B Nick Franklin came out of Wednesday's game because of a sore right knee that flared up in the seventh inning. "We'll see how he feels (Thursday)," manager Eric Wedge said. Franklin was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts before SS Brendan Ryan took his spot in the batting order and homered in his first at-bat to lead off the eighth.

RHP Tom Wilhelmsen regained his closer's job last week, but his Wednesday performance left plenty of reason for concern. Wilhelmsen started the ninth inning in a non-save situation and had more of the control problems that plagued him in June. He walked the first two batters he faced, threw a wild pitch, then gave up back-to-back RBI singles in his worst outing since June 21.

LHP Lucas Luetge still hasn't allowed an earned run since being recalled from Triple-A Tacoma earlier this week, but his Wednesday outing was a bit misleading. Luetge entered the game in the sixth inning with two runners on base, and he gave up back-to-back singles to bring both inherited runners home before yielding a pair of unearned runs of his own.

RHP Stephen Pryor, who is currently on the 60-day disabled list due to a torn lat muscle, threw 25 pitches in a simulated-game situation Wednesday afternoon. "It was good," manager Eric Wedge said, adding that Pryor is scheduled to pitch another simulated game Saturday. There is still no timetable for Pryor's return.

RHP Carter Capps had another rough outing out of the bullpen Wednesday night, even though he didn't allow a run for the first time in a month. Capps hit one batter and walked two others while loading the bases in the seventh inning. He ended up pitching 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, marking the first time in six appearances he has not allowed a run. Since June 16, Capps has allowed 14 earned runs over 7 1/3 innings.

RHP Erasmo Ramirez is the likely starter in Thursday's game against Boston, although the Mariners still haven't made anything official. Ramirez is 3-3 with a 3.03 ERA in seven starts at Triple-A Tacoma after struggling with a triceps injury early in the season. He looks like the probable fill-in for RHP Jeremy Bonderman, who was designated for assignment earlier in the week, although the Mariners have to make another move to clear a roster spot before Thursday's game.

SS Brendan Ryan got his first at-bat in five games Wednesday, and he made the most of it. After serving as a defensive replacement for 2B Nick Franklin in the seventh inning, Ryan came to the plate in the eighth and led off the inning with a home run. Ryan has had only eight at-bats since the Mariners promoted SS Brad Miller from Triple-A Tacoma on June 28 and made him their everyday starter.