Mariners let catcher lead off for first time in 34 years

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Catcher John Jaso is hitting leadoff for the Mariners against the Tigers and Drew Smyly on Wednesday. It’s the first time since 1978 that a Mariners backstop has found himself atop the order.

Larry Stone of the Seattle Times points out that Bob Stinson was the only previous catcher to lead off for the Mariners, doing so twice in 1978.

Jaso has a fair amount of experience leading off, having hit there in 51 games with the Rays. He batted .262/.360/.393 with 33 runs scored in 191 at-bats, which is really pretty good.

However, the odd thing is that the Mariners have him leading off against a lefty tonight. Jaso, a left-handed hitter, has rarely started versus southpaws in his career. He has a .183/.320/.268 line in 82 lifetime at-bats against left-handers.

Of course, the alternative option is probably Chone Figgins, so what’s the harm?