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March 2, 2009 at 8:51 AM

No-names today, some bigger ones Wednesday

With 10 players gone to the World Baseball Classic, and several others nursing injuries or still rounding into form, the lineup the Seattle Mariners are putting out there these days barely resembles what you’ll see in April.
Take today’s lineup, for instance, when the M’s play the White Sox at noon.
Reegie Corona, 2B
Ronny Cedeno, SS
Adrian Beltre, DH
Bryan LaHair, 1B
Mike Morse, 3B
Prentice Redman, CF
Mike Wilson, RF
Rob Johnson, C
Callix Crabbe, LF
Jarrod Washburn, P
To the average fan, Beltre might be about the only player in the lineup many would know without looking at the program.
That’ll change a bit Wednesday when Ken Griffey Jr. makes his spring debut against the Australian WBC team. He is slated to DH and get two or three at-bats. Yuniesky Betancourt, nursing a hamstring injury, will also likely return on Wednesday.
The 10 Mariners gone for the WBC include Ichiro, Kenji Johjima, Jose Lopez and Endy Chavez.
Obviously, the Mariners aren’t alone in having disjointed lineups with everyone impacted by the WBC. But with a new coaching staff and a rebuilding program in place, it may be affecting them a little bit more.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu talked this morning about how he considers this a three-part training camp, having been able to work with Ichiro, Johjima, Lopez and Chavez for a little while before they left. Part two is in session, this period without all of those players. Part three will come after everyone returns.
“I won’t have a real solid feel for this club until we get everybody back,” Wakamatsu said. “We have a lot of young, energetic guys in here. I think the biggest thing is when you get everybody back, does that continue? It’s our job to make that continue, but then you’ve got different personalities, different quality of players back. That’s going to be the biggest thing the last 10 days or so where we have to step it up again.”
Asked what the team can get accomplished now, Wakamatsu said, “Our style of play is important to us right now. Guys are running and executing the little things.”
Today, fans initially might have seen three of Seattle’s top pitchers in Washburn, Felix Hernandez and Ryan Rowland-Smith.
But the team decided this morning to remove Hernandez and have him instead throw an extended bullpen session. Wakamatsu said the team wanted to ensure he would get as many as 60 pitches or so and felt that would be easier to control in a bullpen session.
Hernandez will leave tomorrow for the WBC, meaning the Mariners will be without 11 players.
The real action today figures to come around 11 when Griffey, Sweeney, Betancourt and Russell Branyan will take part in a simulated game against some minor-league pitchers. I’ll file a report on that afterward before heading to Glendale for the game against the White Sox.
— The Mariners are taking tomorrow off, and Wakamatsu said it will be a true day off — he wants the players to get a break and said he won’t be around.
— As evidenced above, Morse is back after missing a few days with the flu. He still has some throat issues and will be examined again before the game but is expected to play.
— Other pitches today after Washburn and Rowland-Smith are Tyler Walker, Marwin Vega, Luis Munoz, Denny Stark and Eric Hull.
— Scheduled to start for Australia Wednesday is former Mariner Travis Blackley.
Garrett Olson will start for the Mariners in that game with Erik Bedard going Thursday against the Anngels.
— Seattle’s 3-0-1 start is its best since going 5-0 in 1994.



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