NEW YORK -- Brendan Ryan hasn't hit well for two seasons now. He knows it, you know it, manager Eric Wedge knows it. But the Mariners shortstop has never stopped trying, and nobody was more thrilled when he beat out an infield single in the ninth inning of Wednesday's 12-2 blowout over the Yankees to become the last Seattle starter with a hit in the game.
"I would have risked being on crutches for the rest of my life for that hit," a beaming Ryan said. "You're talking to a two-game-hitting-streak shortstop right now, so let's ride this wave."
Ryan is still batting just .149 after Thursday's 3-2 win over the Yankees, although he went 2-for-4 with an RBI single. He was robbed of potentially two RBIs in the second inning, when right fielder Ichiro Suzuki made a sliding catch to end the threat, and Wedge was ejected after arguing that Ichiro trapped the ball.
On the heels of last year's .194, it's not where he wants to be. But after losing some playing time to Robert Andino at shortstop, Ryan has been at least splitting time the past two weeks while Wedge looks for one of the two to grab hold of the job.
Ryan offers Gold Glove defense, so it wouldn't take much for him offensively to maintain the position. But he needs to hit a little. And, yeah, he's trying. Ironically, the pitch he hit for a single on Wednesday was one that he got out ahead of and rolled to the third baseman, hugging the line just enough to let him beat the throw by half a step.
"It was absolutely everything I wasn't trying to do," he said. "I've been trying to let the ball get deeper and then make contact. It's been happening and then not happening. But when it has happened, the results have not been there. Not every at-bat is going to be squared up and all that, but the at-bats have gotten better, I just haven't had the results.
"It's just a matter of not burying yourself. Along with that, we're winning games, so I can't get too discouraged because my main responsibility is to be out there catching balls. Still, from a personal standpoint, you'd like to be on the basepaths a little more often."
Wedge ejected for first time this season in Bronx
NEW YORK -- Mariners manager Eric Wedge earned his first ejection of the season on Thursday, when he was tossed by first-base umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after the top of the second inning of his team's 3-2 victory over the Yankees.
Wedge went out to argue after Brendan Ryan laced a line drive to right field that Ichiro Suzuki snared just above the grass for the third out of the second inning.
"That's what I was yelling at," Wedge said. "But I'm not going to talk about that. It was a great game. We've got plenty else to talk about. He should have thrown me out. I would've thrown myself out if I said that to myself."
Wedge already appeared unhappy about a checked-swing, third-strike call on Raul Ibanez for the first out of the inning.
It was the 33rd ejection of Wedge's 10-year managerial career. He also was ejected from a game this spring, the first Cactus League ejection he'd received.
Wedge hopes for productive rehab for Gutierrez
NEW YORK -- Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez began a Minor League injury rehab assignment Thursday night as the designated hitter for Triple-A Tacoma, which hosted Memphis to start an eight-game homestand.
Gutierrez is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring that occurred on April 22 in Houston. That's the latest in a series of injuries that have plagued the 30-year-old the past three seasons, which is why manager Eric Wedge said he'll need to see more from Gutierrez in this rehab stint before bringing him back.
Position players can be kept on a rehab assignment as long as 20 days before they have to either be recalled or kept on the disabled list without playing.
"He has to play," Wedge said. "I'm not looking for him just to be to the point where he can play up here. He's got to be further than that so we can count on him. I don't know what 100 percent is anymore. I don't think there is 100 percent. But he's got to be further along than he has been in the past before he comes back.
"I can't put a timetable on it. It's a combination of what they see -- the managers, trainers, coaches and the conversations we have with him, too. He's on rehab, 20 days for a position player, so we'll see how long it takes. He feels good, and it's good to get him back out there. And of course we want him back, but we want to know we can count on him, too."
Gutierrez was hitting .259 with four home runs and 10 RBIs while leading off for the Mariners for 16 games. But he's now missed 18 games after playing just 40 games last season and 92 in 2011.
'Boo' or 'Raul?' Ibanez knows the difference
NEW YORK -- Raul Ibanez was a hero for the Yankees in the 2012 postseason, when his two late home runs beat the Orioles in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. So yes, he was cheered when he first came to the plate as a visiting Mariner this week at Yankee Stadium.
But by the time Ibanez belted his third home run in the first two games of the series with his former team, the "Raaauuull" was turning to "booo," though perhaps those were directed more at Yankees pitchers than the 40-year-old outfielder.
Either way, Ibanez wasn't fazed.
"You can't expect them to cheer when you're on the other team," he said. "I'm very appreciative of that. I had a great time when I played here, now my job is to try to beat them."
As for the confusion between his name and "boo?"
"I didn't want to say anything because I don't want it to get louder," Ibanez said with a grin. "I can't tell that much of a difference. But when you hear it, depending on how you're doing, yeah, you know."
Ibanez has hit nine home runs in his last 11 games at Yankee Stadium, which didn't make it hard for manager Eric Wedge to pencil him into the lineup again Thursday. Ibanez was at designated hitter, with Kendrys Morales playing first base instead of Justin Smoak.
"That's just keeping Ibanez playing in this ballpark," Wedge said. "I wanted to play them all, but you can't do that. It's just to keep Raul in there. He's always thrived here, so you roll with it."
Ibanez has talked of the short right-field porch and various things at Yankee Stadium, but says he doesn't spend too much time figuring out why he's hit so well here.
"It's definitely a nice background," he said. "But I've been feeling better at the plate the last week or so, and it's carried over."
• Right-handed reliever Josh Kinney has begun an injury rehab stint at Triple-A Tacoma and will make his first appearance Friday. Kinney is on the 60-day disabled list with a stress reaction in his rib area that occurred during Spring Training. He's not eligible to return until May 30 at the earliest.
• The Mariners headed into Thursday's game with seven different players having hit four or more home runs, which tied them with the Rangers in that category.