SEATTLE -- The Mariners held a moment of silence before Monday's game for Hiroshi Yamauchi, the majority owner who was credited with keeping the team from moving in 1992. It was the first Mariners game in Safeco Field since Yamauchi, 85, died in Kyoto, Japan, on Thursday. The owner was instrumental in facilitating the signing of Japanese star Ichiro Suzuki.
Seattle was the entry point for Yamauchi's Nintendo video-game empire in the United States, and to return the favor he purchased the team to prevent it from being bought by an ownership group from Florida.
On Thursday, the Mariners issued a statement that said, "Mr. Yamauchi will be remembered for his role in moving forward the opportunity for Japanese baseball players to play in the United States. He will forever be a significant figure in Mariners Baseball history."
Safe to say, Almonte makes strong first impression
SEATTLE -- When Major League teams expand their rosters in September and call up Minor League prospects, it gives the rookies a chance to experience life as a big leaguer, get some "firsts" out of the way and affirms their progress along the path to The Show. It's also a chance for the youngsters to prove they belong on the same stage as the world's best ballplayers, and few have seized the opportunity like the Mariners' Abraham Almonte.
The 24-year-old Dominican has reached base successfully in each of his 17 games with a plate appearance to open his Major League career, and recorded a hit in 15 of them. The only Mariner with a longer such on-base streak was Alvin Davis, who reached base safely in 47 consecutive games to open his 1984 Rookie of the Year season.
In addition to his prowess at the plate, Almonte has impressed with his speed on the basepaths and his powerful arm in the outfield. Manager Eric Wedge has praised the rookie as being arguably the team's best bunter. And he's gotten better as he's gotten more comfortable, raising his batting average from .258 after 10 games to .281 following Monday's loss to the Royals.
"When you first get here, you're afraid to do a lot of things," Almonte said. "A lot of times you know what's right or wrong, but sometimes you're not sure what to do or not do. But with time I feel more free to play my game and do what I do."
Still, his manager isn't ready to say that Almonte has proved that his skills will translate at the game's highest level.
"You can't prove yourself that quick, but he's shown himself well. But you're not going to -- in baseball, it's not about weeks or a month. It's about months or years," Wedge said. However, Wedge was effusive in his praise of how Almonte has taken advantage of the opportunity, and how the rookie can play any outfield position, while hinting that Almonte will have every opportunity to prove himself again in Spring Training.
Mariners welcome back Miller to lineup
SEATTLE -- Brad Miller returned to the Mariners lineup on Monday for the first time since straining his left hamstring during Seattle's 4-1 victory over the Cardinals on Sept. 14. The rookie resumed his role as the team's leadoff hitter and everyday shortstop, a razor-thin position for the team after the trade of Brendan Ryan to the Yankees in early September. Carlos Triunfel filled in at shortstop during Miller's absence.
Miller collected a hit as a pinch-hitter in Sunday's loss to the Angels. He's hitting .262 with six home runs and 31 RBIs over 70 games in his inaugural season.
Manager Eric Wedge said that he was impressed with the way Miller conducted himself in his absence, engaging with the game from the bench and taking note of the starters' play.
"I think it's always healthy to be able to watch a big league game," Wedge said. "He's a student of the game himself anyways. He's not someone that sits by and doesn't pay attention. He's going to watch and learn and give us a chance to talk a little bit from time to time."
• Nick Franklin has recovered from a midseason slump, and has collected a hit in his last six games entering Monday, batting (.391) in that span. The rookie second baseman saw his batting average drop from .302 after 29 games all the way down to .214 after 90, before rebounding to its current .226
"I've gotten comfortable making adjustments toward the pitchers," Franklin said. "What's key for me is making it to the field every day and grinding it out and seeing if I can find something new.
Jacob Thorpe is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.