OF Greg Halman gets call to Seattle

Greg Halman might not have much playing time so far this season,

the result of a broken hand in early April, but the Seattle

Mariners saw enough.

Halman was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma late Thursday night and

was in uniform for Friday night’s game against Tampa Bay. He missed

48 games in April and May after being hit by a pitch on April 10

and breaking a bone in his left hand.

He replaces Michael Saunders, who was struggling with a .168

average in 45 games. Halman is a true center fielder and his

presence gives Seattle manager Eric Wedge more opportunity to give

Gold Glove center fielder Franklin Gutierrez additional breaks as

he continues to return from stomach troubles that sidelined him for

six weeks.

”We need to have a backup center fielder, a true center fielder

so when (Gutierrez) is not out there we can have a guy out there

who can run it down. We need a guy who can run it down in left

field from time to time,” Wedge said. ”Granted, it’s only a week

off the DL, but he was impressive to me this spring.”

Spring was nearly the only impression Seattle’s staff had of

Halman. In his fourth game, Halman was hit on the left hand by an

inside fastball. Halman didn’t want to believe it was broken,

despite the pain, and stayed in the game, stealing a base and going

out on defense before finally realizing he couldn’t continue.

Halman eventually had surgery to insert a plate and five screws

to stabilize the break.

”Right after it happened I was very focused on having a good

rehab and getting my hand back to 100 percent,” Halman said.

Halman made a pretty good statement on his health, homering on

the third pitch after coming off the disabled list last Sunday. In

his nine games with Tacoma, Halman hit .257.

Wedge hopes that Saunders can get his bat on track by playing

every day with the Rainiers.

”It’s not about him going down there and getting hits,” Wedge

said. ”It’s about him going down there and getting to the point

where he can be a consistent big-league hitter and have success up

here. The hits will come if he does that.”