The shot above is of Wakako Saito, 11, of Nagoya, Japan, who flew in to Seattle with her parents on Sunday as a guest of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Her wish was to meet Ichiro. She has battled a brain tumor for the past year and a half. Wakako is also a pitcher and a shortstop for her baseball team back in Japan. They spent yesterday shopping and checking out Safeco Field from the outside. She’ll be at the game tonight, then again tomorrow, before flying home on Friday.
Ichiro came over and chatted with her in the dugout. Later, he posed for pictures on the field with her and her family before heading off to take batting practice. I have some of that for you in a video below.
Kenji Johjima later came over to say hello as well.
Back to Mariners news, Adrian Beltre had an MRI on his injured thumb today and will be out at least the next few days as the dye they injected in his thumb (to make the interior visible on MRI images) needs that long to dissipate. Beltre and team medical staff will now discuss his options. He could elect to have surgery, as Jeff Clement just did, which would end his season and give him mroe time to recover for 2009. It all depends on what is recommended and how much recovery time is needed.
For now, the team is unfurling a very interesting middle of the order.
Jose Lopez bats cleanup tonight. Tug Hulett is the DH, batting fifth. And Yuniesky Betancourt bats sixth. Raul Ibanez will hit third. Should be interesting. We’ll see if Felix Hernandez can get more offense than he did in that 1-0 loss last week. It’ll be a challenge.
The Mariners will start either Cesar Jimenez or Randy Messenger tomorrow afternoon. Whoever doesn’t get used tonight. The rest will be a starter-by-committee approach. In other words, all the bullpen arms that have not gotten in enough work will see some action. Mariners manager Jim Riggleman could have started R.A. Dickey. But he worried that Dickey might get too deep and not allow him the option of working out all those arms that haven’t been used. You don’t hear that often, but there it is.