Ichiro Suzuki returns to leadoff spot in Mariners order

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Eric Wedge’s offseason lineup switches just didn’t work out.

A month after pulling Chone Figgins out of the leadoff spot and the lineup altogether, Wedge has decided to go back to Ichiro Suzuki at the top of the order.

Suzuki hit third and started in right field in each of the Mariners’ first 52 games before taking a seat Wednesday. He also had Thursday’s off day to rest up.

Suzuki was a pretty obvious bust as a No. 3 hitter, even though this year’s .271/.305/.367 line is a slight improvement over where he finished last year. He drove in just 17 runs in the 52 games. The Mariners and the Phillies, with 15, are the only teams to get fewer than 20 RBI out of their No. 3 hitters to date.

The incredible thing is that the Mariners have managed a pretty respectable offense anyway. After Wednesday’s outburst, they’re averaging 4.11 runs per game, good for 18th in the majors. They were dead last in the majors at 3.17 runs per game in 2010 and 3.43 last year.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.