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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

April 17, 2007 at 4:50 PM

Congrats to all

Just took a look at our latest blog numbers and am proud to say that we’ve doubled our daily hits count in April from what it was at spring training. That’s no small feat, considering we were already growing at a very fast rate throughout March. It’s safe to say that the average number of hits generated by you each and every day in April easily ranks this blog in the top-five of the most-read online items in our newspaper’s entire site. That includes news, entertainment and, of course, sports. We could not be doing this without you. I am proud to say that the level of discourse on this site far exceeds that of some other online blogs I’ve read. You aren’t degenerating into petty insults and name-calling and some of your posts are incredibly well thought out. I do try to read each comment and private email sent my way. If I don’t always answer right away, well, it’s because I’m swamped.
We aren’t trying to be like every other blog out there. This will be a trial and error thing as we get established. But I do listen to the suggestions you make and — if I agree — actually will implement them. Just keep the comments coming and the dialogue going. Even if I don’t agree with you, I’d rather have a situation like this past week with my take on the problems impacting the Mariners. Half of you agreed with me and had even stronger feelings, while the other half thought I was out to lunch.
Remember, the fact that I point out that the Angels are still a good team and will be a challenge for the Mariners to overcome does not mean I dislike Seattle’s baseball club. It isn’t about being a fan of the Mariners. I am a fan of the game. I’ve enjoyed seeing the Mariners in first place the past few days, since covering a frontrunning team is always more fun. That won’t stop me from pointing out some obvious weaknesses. And believe me, the Mariners do have them.
We’re not always going to agree. Baseball is a long-term sport, played over 162 games. A daily blog, by its nature, focuses on the immediate, and the two realities will not always mesh. But I love the daily interraction. So, as long as you all keep turning up by the thousands (and tens of thousands) every day, I will keep on trying to give you more than you’d get elsewhere.
Here are some answers to questions you’ve asked me.
On Jose Guillen and whether he’s hurt:
I chatted with him in the clubhouse moments ago and he told me that yes, his right ankle is still not 100 per cent. He’s been bothered by both ankles at times since the spring. His left one feels better now, while the right one is a work in progress. He was having trouble running the bases before, but felt somewhat better on the weekend. It’s not serious enough to keep him out of the lineup. His hitting is taking some time to get untracked. He admits he’s having trouble seeing the ball during day games at Safeco Field. The backdrop is bothering him. He doesn’t want to use it as an excuse, but for now, that’s how he feels.
On Vidro and his early hitting:
Spoke to him and he told me the early missed games did indeed throw him off, as they did much of the offense. He’s still trying to incorporate an in-game routine into the spare time he has between at-bats. Remember, he’s never had to do the DH thing full-time. Right now, he’s doing some running indoors between at-bats. He thought he’d be using an exercise bike, but so far, is sticking to just the running to keep himself warm. Don’t forget, there have been some cold days and nights here.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups:
MINNESOTA
Luis Castillo — 2B
Jason Tyner — LF
Joe Mauer — C
Michael Cuddyer — RF
Justin Morneau — 1B
Torii Hunter — CF
Jason Kubel — DH
Luis Rodriguez — 3B
Jason Bartlett — SS
Ramon Ortiz — RHP
SEATTLE
Ichiro — CF
Adrian Beltre — 3B
Jose Vidro — DH
Raul Ibanez — LF
Richie Sexson — 1B
Jose Guillen — RF
Kenji Johjima — C
Yuniesky Betancourt — SS
Jose Lopez — 2B
Jeff Weaver — RHP
The big test for Weaver tonight will be from the top six in the order (it drops off a cliff after that), specifically the three lefties in Tyner, Mauer and Morneau. Weaver has trouble with lefties and must do a better job with those three. Not an easy task. He can’t start walking guys early with this group. Get down by a few runs early and it could be lights-out the way the Twins have pitched.

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