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August 3, 2007 at 5:36 PM

Jones starting in left field

The Adam Jones era begins tonight, but may not continue in the way some of you think. Not surprisingly, the Mariners say they plan to ease Jones into the lineup, which they will do tonight when he takes the spot of Raul Ibanez in left field.
More surprisingly, manager John McLaren says Jones will have a “part time” role with the club and that Ibanez is not a platoon player.
“Adam’s not going to be an everyday player,” McLaren said. “We have an everyday lineup out there. We’re going to use him where we see fit to use him. He’s playing tonight, of course you’ve all seen that. But I feel good about having Adam here. And I also feel good about the people we have in the field.”
McLaren won’t put a number on the games Jones will play each week. He doesn’t want to commit to anything and have it dog him later on.
“There’s going to be times we DH Ichiro and Adam’s going to be center,” McLaren said. “There’s going to be times we play Jose Vidro at second base, when Ichiro DH’s. We’re going to throw some different combinations out there. I’m going to play the best players every night to win the game. I don’t want to step on any toes. I don’t want to play head games with anybody out on the field.”
Yes, you read that right. Jose Vidro at second base. Apparently, Jose Lopez’s slump has the club very worried, given his second-half fade of last year. So, expect Lopez to get more rest down the stretch.
McLaren said he read Jose Guillen’s comments, first posted on this blog yesterday and in this morning’s editions of the Times. He says he’s since spoken with Guillen, Raul Ibanez and other players about the Jones promotion.
“I read that,” McLaren said. “We’ve had discussion about it. I understand where they’re coming from and I told these guys how I felt about it and where I was coming from, gave them a chance to express themselves.”
Listen to McLaren here on audio.
This is all very interesting. McLaren said the team was shopping for a right handed bat at the trade deadline and called Jones up once the club failed to land anyone. He said having Jones on the bench gives him some late pinch-hitting and running options. For example, he could use Willie Bloomquist as a pinch-runner earlier in the game, knowing he still has Jones as a right handed bat off the bench.
McLaren is obviously highly conscious of what his veteran players are feeling and thinking. He also says he has the utmost respect for Jose Guillen.
“You know what?” McLaren said. “I’d expect nothing less from Jose. He’s a stand-up guy.”
I spoke to Guillen today and he isn’t backing off his statements one bit. He told me he’ll go talk to Jones and explain to him that it’s nothing personal, but he wants what’s best for the players who have worked hard to get here. Apparently, the big concern McLaren heard addressed in his talks with the veterans was that Jason Ellison had to lose his job. Ellison was a big presence in the clubhouse and popular with his teammates, even if the fans didn’t always appreciate his limited contributions (outside of the fight in Oakland, of course).
Jones talked a bit, told us it didn’t really hit him until he turned his car off the highway exit to get to Safeco Field today that he was really back in the majors. He said his Class AAA manager, Daren Brown, told him: “Have a good time and I don’t want to see you again.”
Jones provided a mini-scouting report for us. “My defense has improved tremedously. I’ve been playing in right all year. I’ve never played left before, so hopefully I should catch on quick. I’ll work my tail off to get better at that.”
Yes, he read Guillen’s comments as well. Don’t worry, the M’s talked to him beforehand about the virtues of keeping quiet and staying out of the veterans’ way unless spoken to first.
“I can’t control that side of the game,” he said. “All I can control is what I do on the field. I’m not going to say anything about anybody. I’m just going to go out and play.”
The lineups:
BOSTON (66-42)
2B Dustin Pedroia
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH David Ortiz
LF Manny Ramirez
3B Mike Lowell
C Jason Varitek
RF Wily Mo Pena
CF Coco Crisp
SS Julio Lugo
LHP Jon Lester
SEATTLE (59-47)
CF Ichiro
DH Jose Vidro
RF Jose Guillen
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Richie Sexson
C Kenji Johjima
LF Adam Jones
2B Jose Lopez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
LHP Horacio Ramirez
HP Chris Guccione
1B Mike Everitt
2B Gerry Davis (crew chief)
3B Alfonso Marquez
(rotation TBA)



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