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July 6, 2009 at 5:22 PM

Betancourt unlikely to play before All-Star break and other Mariner notes

Some Mariner pre-game notes as the gloom and wind disappears, and the sun returns:

  • Yuniesky Betancourt, on the DL with a left hamstring strain since June 25, is “feeling awful good,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “We’re going to have him move around today, test it a little bit, test it tomorrow.”
    If he passes those tests, Betancourt will likely head out to the minors for a rehab assignment.
    “Right now, we don’t anticipate him being activated before the All-Star break unless everything looks 110 percent,” Wakamatsu said. “I’d like to see him go down and get a couple of at-bats under his belt first.”

  • Mike Sweeney, who came out of yesterday’s game with back spasms, has improved slightly, but Wakamatsu rated him at 75 percent.

  • Wakamatsu said he hopes to get Ichiro a rest by using him as DH before the All-Star break.
    “I know this trip has been awfully hard, how hard he works,” he said. “You see little signs where he’s tired. We’re going to try to get him at least one day at DH.”
    Wakamatsu, by the way, said he has no objections to Ichiro participating in the Home Run Derby – not that Ichiro has given any indications he will do so. People have predicted for years Ichiro could win the Derby, but he’s resisted so far.
    “No, he does that every day in batting practice,” Wakamatsu said. “You watch his swing in BP, he’s just trying to loosen his body up, get some extension, and he hits some homers. I don’t think that would affect him at all. Then he goes in the game and goes more middle of the field and away. I think it would be less of an effect on him than someone like a Russell Branyan or someone like that.”

  • Erik Bedard is on target to come off the DL to face his former team, the Orioles, on Tuesday. He’ll be on a pitch count of 75 to 85 pitches, which the Mariners hope to raise to 100 for his start Sunday against the Rangers.
    “Watching him pitch in the sim (simulated) game in Boston, he was probably as good as I’ve seen him,” Wakamatsu said. “All the signs look good.”
    The Mariners won’t need a fifth starter until July 25 against the Indians. Wakamatsu put off addressing what will happen to the rotation with Bedard back. They have six potential starters with Bedard, Felix Hernandez, Jarrod Washburn, Brandon Morrow, Jason Vargas and Garrett Olson — not to mention Ryan Rowland-Smith in Tacoma.

  • Wakamatsu sees Ryan Langerhans as a potential Russ Branyan success story.
    “Physically, his story nears Russell in a sense,” he said. “Here’s a guy that had a couple of different opportunities that haven’t really panned out for him. But he’s awfully athletic and has a lot of ability. I saw a lot in a short period of time. He made some great defensive plays yesterday.
    “At the plate, both against right-handers and left-handers, he’s shown an athletic swing and some patience at the plate. He’s given us some great at-bats. Just watching him take BP and move around, he’s got a lot of ability. Physically, this guy can be an every-day guy. The rest is getting that belief system, like we’ve tried to do with a lot of guys — give him a home.”

  • Attention all University of Washington students, staff and alumni: Friday against Texas is “Husky Night with the Mariners.” Alumni, students, faculty and staff get discounted tickets through the University of Washington Alumni Association web site, and everyone who signs up gets a free purple Mariners cap. The Mariners are also giving away a DVD of their television commercials to the first 20,000 fans that night. A portion from every ticket goes toward UW student scholarships. Find more information here.
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