SEATTLE -- After playing several games without the first three hitters in their lineup, the Mariners have reinforcements on the way as shortstop Jean Segura returned to the lineup for Tuesday's 9-5 loss to the Rangers and second baseman Dee Gordon is expected to come off the 10-day disabled list
SEATTLE -- After playing several games without the first three hitters in their lineup, the Mariners have reinforcements on the way as shortstop Jean Segura returned to the lineup for Tuesday's 9-5 loss to the Rangers and second baseman Dee Gordon is expected to come off the 10-day disabled list Thursday.
Segura, who went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored in his return, missed two games after getting kicked in the head while sliding into second base on Saturday.
Gordon has been out a week with a fractured right big toe, but he fielded ground balls, ran the bases and took batting practice prior to Tuesday's game and is on track to return as soon as his DL stint is up.
Gordon is expected to hit against Hisashi Iwakuma in a batting-practice session on Wednesday as his final preparation, then slide back into the leadoff role in Thursday's series finale against the Rangers, if all goes to plan.
Though No. 3 hitter Robinson Cano still has 67 games remaining on his 80-game suspension, the return of Gordon and Segura at the top of the order will be a boost for a Mariners club that has managed to keep winning despite their absences.
"I'm really excited to have those guys back," manager Scott Servais said. "Jean was just out a couple days, but he was really carrying us offensively while he was in there. And everybody knows what Dee can do, just creating traffic and finding ways to get hits.
"It's been a struggle for us lately. We've taken advantage of the opportunities we've had, we just haven't had a lot of opportunities."
Gordon has continued wearing a boot on his right foot to protect his toe as it heals, but he takes the boot off to work out and appears to be running without issue. He fractured the toe with a foul ball off his foot in Toronto in early May, but he kept playing on it until aggravating it on a diving-catch attempt against the Tigers in the 11th inning of a win on May 20.
• Iwakuma's batting-practice session initially had been slated for Tuesday, but the 37-year-old woke up with a stiff neck, so the outing was pushed back to Wednesday. He's expected to face Gordon, as well as Ichiro Suzuki, who continues working out and taking batting practice with the club in his new role as an advisor.
Iwakuma is on a Minor League deal with the Mariners, so once he is cleared to play in games, he could pitch for Triple-A Tacoma, or any of the other Minor League affiliates, as long as needed.
• Though Servais initially had planned to use Denard Span in center field on days when Guillermo Heredia was off, he switched up and kept Span in left on Tuesday, shifting right fielder Mitch Haniger to center and starting Ben Gamel in right.
"Looking at where we're at and talking with him a little bit, he's been focused on left field all year," Servais said of Span. "That's what he'd done in Tampa. We'll leave him there. Hanny has played center a couple times."
• Former Mariners right-hander Mike Moore will represent Seattle at the Draft during the first round on Monday in New York. Moore was drafted by the Mariners in the first round in 1981 out of Oral Roberts and pitched the first seven seasons of his 14-year Major League career for Seattle.
The Mariners have the 14th selection in the first round. The Draft will take place Monday through Wednesday, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB Network and MLB.com at 3 p.m. PT on Monday. MLB Network will broadcast the first 43 picks (Round 1 and Competitive Balance Round A), while MLB.com will stream all 78 picks on Day 1.
MLB.com will also provide live pick-by-pick coverage of Rounds 3-10 on Day 2, with a preview show beginning at 9:30 a.m. PT. Rounds 11-40 can be heard live on MLB.com on Day 3, beginning at 9 a.m. PT.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.