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Scuffling Carter given day off vs. Felix

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SEATTLE -- Struggling designated hitter Chris Carter was given a day off Monday against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, who's especially tough on right-handers. Carter is scuffling mightily to begin the season, hitting .123 with no homers and two RBIs.

Carter hit a team-high 29 homers a year ago and drove in 82 runs.

"When you look at the power potential, you know that at some point he's going to break out and you're going to see the power and he's going to be able to change the game in one swing," manager Bo Porter said. "It just made sense to get Marwin [Gonzalez] another start and give [Carter] a breather, and he'll be back in there [Tuesday]."

Gonzalez made his second consecutive start at shortstop, with Matt Dominguez starting at designated hitter. Porter wanted Gonzalez's bat in the lineup, but didn't want to put him at DH because his versatility could be needed in the field at some point.

As for Carter, he's trying to stay positive.

"I've been working hard in the cage and on the field, and hopefully it starts working for me," he said.

Carter knows that as the DH, he's expected to produce.

"We've been in a lot of close games and I'm not getting hits in those situations, and I'm not doing really much to help the team," he said. "I'm in a pretty important part of the lineup and have been DH'ing, so hitting is pretty much the only thing I'm doing and I'm not doing that well, so it's kind of tough."

Brian McTaggart is reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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