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

April 29, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Wladimir Balentien earns another start for the Mariners today

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A look above at Mariners catcher Jamie Burke, tending to his fans. There was no official batting practice for the Mariners today, since they had theirs last night against John Danks and the White Sox. The Chicago players, however, were out in full force. They mustered all of eight hits in two games yesterday.
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Wladimir Balentien has earned himself another start in left field today. I spoke briefly with Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu this morning after my radio stint and he told me he wanted to give Endy Chavez a rest. But Wakamatsu is also pleased with the at-bats Balentien took at the end of Game 1 yesterday and throughout Game 2 last night. So, there you go.
Chavez is slumping a bit at the plate, going just 1-for-15 since the opener of the series in Anaheim last Friday. We all knew this was coming. There’s a reason Chavez has not led his teams in on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) before. Well, his OPS is now down to a more normal .727. Chavez hasn’t been an everyday position player for a few years now. Not saying he can’t be one this year, but his numbers historically have tended to drop if he plays too many games in a row. Now, he gets a break.
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By the way, Kenji Johjima is slated to be activated off the DL on Friday. We’ll see what that means for Rob Johnson, who I think has played his way into contention for the No. 1 job. I spoke to Johnson this morning about that double he hit in the seventh inning of Game 1 that brought Seattle’s only run home.
Seems we all weren’t the only ones who felt that ball should have gotten to the gap if not for grass slowing it up.
“I was like, ‘Man, I though I had more backspin on that ball!;,” Johnson told me. “Out of the gates, I was thinking three all the way, then I had to stop at second and I was like, wow, how did that happen?”
Chicago center fielder Brian Anderson managed to cut the ball off in right center before it could get past him to the wall. Had that happened, Jose Lopez almost certainly would have scored the tying run. Instead, Lopez had to stop at third.
Johnson said he didn’t think the grass was all that wet.
“I didn’t go on the outfield grass,” he said. “But I was stretching on the infield grass before the game and it wasn’t wet at all.”
As they say, that’s baseball.
Lineups:
RF Ichiro
2B Jose Lopez
DH Ken Griffey Jr.
3B Adrian Beltre
1B Russell Branyan
LF Wladimi Balentien
C Rob Johnson
CF Franklin Gutierrez
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
LHP Erik Bedard
CHICAGO
2B Brent Lillibridge
DH Josh Fields
LF Carlos Quentin
RF Jermaine Dye
1B Paul Konerko
C A.J. Pierzynski
3B Wilson Betemit
CF Brian Anderson
SS Alexei Ramirez
RHP Gavin Floyd

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