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

July 2, 2009 at 2:49 PM

Wladimir Balentien loses chance to start against a lefthanded pitcher

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UPDATE: 4:19 p.m.: We’re in a strange rain delay situation. No tarp on the field, very little rain. New start time is 4:40 p.m.
Mariners left fielder Wladimir Balentien, in the photo above, appears to have found a way to get around on the ball quicker. First, he’s going to try hitting as a southpaw (hey, it’s getting Ryan Langerhans into the lineup). And, he’s also going to try to swing without holding a bat. He’ll work on the whole how-to-make-contact part later on.
Nah, just kidding.
But Balentien’s status is no laughing matter. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu initially said that Langerhans would be starting in left tonight because he’s wanted to break him in, could use the added defense, the guy has good lefty-righty splits, blah, blah, blah.
But ask him a quick question about whether Balentien’s play had anything to do with the decision and some extra words start flowing.

“I think a lot of it…playing him yesterday, to give him an opportunity against a lefty yesterday, career-wise you look at all those numbers and you wait for the consistency,” Wakamatsu said. “He hit a ball pretty decent to center, but other than that, there was an opportunity where he got picked off at first base, and at first and second. It was a tough call on him on an up and in fastball. But again, we’ve talked about trying to find out what kind of a player he is. And there’s good games and bad games. But I think it’s a combination of both. He’s going to have to produce against lefties. That’s kind of his role right now. I didn’t see it yesterday.”
So, there you go.
Click right here to listen to that quote I just gave you as well as some follow-ups.
So, from the photo below, it looks as if the Mariners have called up another lefty just ahead of the Boston series.
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Whoops, no, it’s just Countdown’s Keith Olbermann asking FSN broadcaster Dave Sims to think long and hard about whether he really wants to wear pants on-the-air tonight. A little muggy out.
Speaking of lefties, Jason Vargas is feeling a little under the weather with flu-like symtoms that caused him to lose his lunch earlier in the day. Vargas will start, but they’re going to keep an eye on him.
Plenty of pitchers tend to feel nauseous before making a start in this home run laden ballpark. In fact, if you look below, Miguel Batista shows Jose Lopez the best place to try to hit the ball into the wind tunnel.
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Back to Vargas, manager Wakamatsu had a funny flu story earlier.
Turns out that back when the Mariners were playing the Oakland Athetics, Wakamatsu couldn’t understand why Russell Branyan was standing so far away from his bag with Jack Cust leading off first base.
Finally, he called Branyan over.
“Aren’t you going to hold the runner?” Wakamatsu asked.
“He has the flu,” Branyan replied.
Wakamatsu shook his head.
“I told him ‘That’s one for the book.’ I never heard of such a thing.”
Then again, Branyan hasn’t missed any games other than for his back.



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