Gathright reached back to his youth for the influence of Robinson on his education.
"For me, Jackie Robinson is the first black man I ever heard speak proper English and seem well-educated, so he did a lot for me," Gathright said. "He let me know there was a lot more out there in the world than just living in Mississippi in the woods.
"He brought baseball to me, was able to speak as a black man to me, a lot of things. It was the way he was, and I respected him a lot."
Gathright recalled that an uncle showed him films about black baseball stars such as Robinson and others, raising his interest in their history.
Mariners wearing No. 42 will include their starting pitcher, ex-Royal Miguel Batista.
SEA: RHP Miguel Batista (0-2, 6.00 ERA)
KC: LHP John Bale (0-2, 5.84 ERA)
Bale was hurt by one home run hit by Melky Cabrera and some defensive lapses in his second start of the season against the Yankees. He's lost twice now, and he wasn't hit all that hard in either outing. He made his first Major League start since 2003 against the Twins on April 4 and took a 4-3 loss. When Bale does post a victory as a starter, it would be his first such victory since Aug. 29, 2003, when he was pitching for the Reds and beat the Cardinals and Dan Haren, 8-5.
Batista's solid outing against the Rays -- he limited them to two runs over six innings -- was overshadowed by a shutout performance from his pitching counterpart, leaving the Mariners' top winner in '07 winless after two starts in '08. He pitched into the seventh inning for the first time and now turns his attention to the Royals -- a team he didn't face last season -- and has faced only twice in his career, posting a 1-0 record and 0.00 ERA in 3 1/3 innings.
Guillen was back at Safeco Field, where he spent last season with the Mariners, on Monday. "Everything was perfect here," he said. "This is one place where, if I get a chance to come back here, I will come back. ... I was treated so fair and nicely." The Mariners were his eighth Major League team. ... Guillen must have felt right at home -- he belted a double in his first at-bat. ... Billy Butler puts a 13-game hitting streak on the line. He's hit safely in each game this season. That ties him with Darrell Porter (1978) and Danny Tartabull (1989) for the second-longest streak at the start of a Royals season. The record? By George Brett, of course, 19 games in 1983. ... Ryan Shealy hit his third home run on Sunday for Omaha and had eight RBIs in 10 games but was batting just .184.
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Official game notes
Wednesday: Royals (Gil Meche, 0-2, 7.13) at Angels (Jered Weaver, 1-2, 3.79), 9:05 p.m. CT
Thursday: Royals (Brett Tomko, 1-1, 2.08) at Angels (Jon Garland, 1-2, 5.50), 9:05 p.m. CT
Friday: Royals (Brian Bannister, 3-0, 0.86) at Athletics (Chad Gaudin, 0-1, 7.20), 9:05 p.m. CT