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April 18, 2009 at 4:15 PM

Pre-game notes from Don Wakamatsu, Jim Leyland

  • Manager Don Wakamatsu called Ken Griffey Jr.’s slow-up, don’t-slide, two-hop scoring play on Friday night his “Invisible Man” routine.
    “Like no one can see him,” Wakamatsu said. “It’s neat, again, to be able to watch the dugout, and the players react as he comes all the way around to score is priceless.”
    Broadcaster Dave Sims was kidding with Griffey about the two-step in the Mariners clubhouse before the game, and Griffey joked about having a Heisman move that he could also deploy. A stiff-arm? That would be something else wouldn’t it?

  • Saturday’s lineup:
    No. 1 CF Curtis Granderson .205 2   No. 1 RF Ichiro Suzuki .308 1
    No. 2 2B Placido Polanco .282 0   No. 2 LF Endy Chavez .386 1
    No. 3 RF Magglio Ordonez .270 0   No. 3 DH Ken Griffey Jr. .231 2
    No. 4 1B Miguel Cabrera .513 4   No. 4 3B Adrian Beltre .214 0
    No. 5 LF Carlos Guillen .176 0   No. 5 1B Mike Sweeney .250 0
    No. 6 DH Marcus Thames .286 0   No. 6 2B Jose Lopez .206 1
    No. 7 C Gerald Laird .321 0   No. 7 C Rob Johnson .188 0
    No. 8 3B Brandon Inge .265 4   No. 8 SS Yuniesky Betancourt .333 0
    No. 9 SS Ramon Santiago .333 1   No. 9 CF Franklin Gutierrez .212 1

  • Adrian Beltre was hitless his first three games at Safeco Field this season, but hit two doubles on Friday night, one down the right-field line and the other to left-center field.
    Manager Don Wakamatsu said the past couple days he’s seen Beltre feeling better in his cuts at the plate.
    “He’s starting to feel it a little better in his swing,” Wakamatsu said. “He had an inconsistent spring training where we sat him down and rested his shoulder, and had a pretty good spring overall, but he’s staying back, looking for better pitches to hit and using all fields.”

  • Franklin Gutierrez‘s bunt single in the fifth inning on Friday night vs. Detroit was Seattle’s third bunt single of the season, tied for most in the league with Detroit and Oakland.
    In addition to that, the Mariners also have nine sacrifice bunts, which leads the league.
    “[We’re] talking about the pressurizing the defense, moving players base to base and putting us in a situation to drive ’em in,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said, “which we’ve been good at. You’ve got to get on base and be a little more patient with certain things.”
    Detroit manager Jim Leyland was asked if the Mariners’ propensity to bunt applies more pressure to the defense.
    “Well, it advances runners,” Leyland said. “I don’t know if it puts anymore pressure on the defense.”
    Wakamatsu has been on teams at both extremes of the use of the bunt. He pointed back to his past with the Rangers under Buck Showalter when the Rangers had such heavy hitters in the lineup they barely ever bunted. Same franchise, different lineup and a very different approach under Ron Washington, Wakamatsu pointed out.
    “We bunted 68, 69 times, led the American League,” Wakamatsu said. “So I think it’s more about just trying to do what we’re good at, and obviously if we’re successful at it, we’ll keep doing it.”

  • Russell Branyan is not in the lineup on Saturday, held out after he slid feet-first into home plate and came up with a sore back in the fifth inning of Friday’s victory over Detroit.
    His status going forward?
    “He’s really day-to-day,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “We’re going to give him the day off, but it looks not to be too serious. He had a little bit of that issue at spring training, but he had spasms at spring training. This felt like he tweaked it a little bit.”
    Wakamatsu said that if Branyan’s back remains stiff on Sunday, he’ll have that day off, too, followed by the off day on Monday. The expectation is he’d be back in the lineup by Tuesday at the latest.

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