Montero back at DH as second half opens

As expected, rookie Jesus Montero is back in the lineup tonight at designated hitter as the Mariners open the second half against the Rangers in a 7:10 p.m. game at Safeco.

Montero missed the last three games with a minor concussion after taking a foul ball off the mask, but is ready to go now after the All-Star break.

Manager Eric Wedge is sticking with Dustin Ackley in the leadoff role and Ichiro batting second, as he did in the final two games in Oakland before the break. Wedge shook things up that way, but the roster remained intact despite his talk of possible changes last weekend.

The club wants to give its young guys a look coming back from the All-Star breather. That reprieve isn’t endless, so they’ll need to see signs from Montero, Ackley and Justin Smoak. I thikn the warmer weather could be a positive factor for all those youngsters, particularly at Safeco, so this next stretch will be interesting to see.

Here’s tonight’s lineup against Rangers lefty Derek Holland (5-4, 5.05 ERA):

Dustin Ackley 2B
ichiro Suzuki RF
Casper Wells LF
Jesus Montero DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Justin Smoak 1B
Miguel Olivo C
Michael Saunders CF
Brendan Ryan SS

Kevin Millwood RHP


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