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July 23, 2009 at 9:49 AM

A few pre-game notes (assuming there is a game)

We’ve just been told the game will start at 1:30 p.m. (10:30 a.m. Seattle time — correction)). The tarp is coming off the field again. However, the doppler doesn’t look good. There could be a few delays. The Mariners are scheduled to come back to Detroit Aug. 18-20, so if they postpone this game, they could just play a doubleheader during that series.
Here’s Wakamatsu on Franklin Gutierrez, who is not in the lineup: “Gutierrez is still a little stiff in the neck area. His elbow and knee seem to be fine. But he’s having some trouble turning his neck a little bit. We’re hoping that he’s able to manage this flight (home to Seattle) well and be ready to go back home. He’s still day to day.”
The news on Adrian Beltre continues to be encouraging:
“Adrian is feeling exceptionally well,” Wakamatsu said. “We’re trying to slow him down. The plan right now is that he’ll start swinging off the tee when we get back home — probably the Toronto series we’ll start that. Depending on how he progresses from that point, we’ve talked about sim (simulated) games, we’ve talked about sending him down to get a couple of at-bats, we’ve talked about not sending him down. That’s all going on right now. It’s like he’s on an expedited program, which is good for everybody. The main thing is we maintain the integrity of that shoulder; we don’t cause that spur to come back. Everything seems good.”


No decision on a starter for Sunday yet. Wakamatsu mentioned Jason Vargas and Chris Jakubauskas as candidates, but pointedly did not mention Brandon Morrow “There’s several different factors we’re going to look at,” Wakamatsu said.
He continued to rave about Felix Hernandez and his emergence as a No. 1 pitcher. .
“I think because of his youth and service time, a lot of guys don’t know when that point is when they need to be that guy. Not just on the field but off the field. All those signs — the way he carries himself, the maturity level, I think are all little things about it. Then you watch the energy level. Coming out of that game shows a maturityi n itself, not being stubborn and saying I want to go back out at 110 pitches and hurt myself for my next start. He trusts the bullpen enough to say, Yeah, let’s turn it over to them.’We talked about getting a couple of runs, and we got them. He was awfully happy.
“I think you watch him in the dugout there (after Russ Branyan’s home run), the last start at home, that’s baseball at his finest. Those are highlight moments to him.”
Asked if he’s ever seen anyone as advanced as Hernandez at such a young age, he said, “The only one, goes back to college days, probably Roger Clemens. He’s got a long ways to prove he can do the things Roger did. I don’t know if I’ve been around a player that turned it around, in a sense, both on and off the field, in the clubhouse, as him. You see it in his demeanor, his strut, his confidence level, all of the above.”

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