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August 1, 2009 at 3:18 PM

Luke French starts Wednesday, Chris Shelton designated for assignment

Updated with quotes from Don Wakamatsu and Ken Griffey Jr.
Turns out that newly-acquired pitcher Luke French wasn’t at all disappointed to be traded to Seattle by Detroit. That’s because the Mariners were the Colorado native’s favorite boyhood club. No kidding.
“I remember when I was young the Mariners were my favorite team,” French said. “I remember when I was in fifth grade, I made like a timeline of where you want to be in the future. And it was on my timeline that I wanted to pitch for the Mariners, so that was pretty cool.”

“i was a big Griffey fan,” he said. “I loved him and Randy (Johnson) and Jay Buhner and all of those guys.”
Yes, he told Griffey the news.
“Kids say the darnedess things, don’t they?” Griffey said.
Turns out that last night, when French joined the team here at Rangers Ballpark, he wanted to introduce himself to Griffey, who was standing in a hallway talking to Mike Sweeney. Griffey continued to talk as French waited patiently. When he was done, Griffey strode right past French — who’d outstretched his hand for an introduction — without saying hello and kept on walking away.
It was all intentional.
“He turned to go too and was walking away and I called out ‘Hey, French! I was just messing with you!’ ” Griffey said. “Sweeney put me up to it. He told me to do it.”
French threw a bullpen session this afternoon. He said he can’t wait to get back out on the mound.
‘When I found out the news, I definitely didn’t take it as a negative,” he said of the trade. “It was an awesome opportunity.”
French will face the Royals on Wednesday.
Shelton is trying not to take this as too much of a negative. He’s been designated for assignment, but expects to go back to Class AAA Tacoma and hopes to be back up here in September.
“I’ve just got to get an opportunity,” he said. “They gave me an opportunity here. It wasn’t a lot, but I tried to make the most of it. Hopefully, somebody, someday, will give me another.”
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said the decision to DFA Shelton — meaning the Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright him to the minors — was made because of the need to have extra bullpen arms.
“Chris did a good job for us,” he said. “The need right now is that, because of the lack of quality starts we’ve had, the bullpen has taken the brunt of it.”
The lineups:
SEATTLE (53-50)
RF Ichiro
1B Russell Branyan
2B Jose Lopez
DH Ken Griffey Jr.
CF Franklin Gutierrez
3B Jack Hannahan
SS Jack Wilson
LF Ryan Langerhans
C Rob Johnson
RHP Felix Hernandez
TEXAS (58-43)
2B Omar Vizquel
3B Michael Young
LF David Murphy
CF Marlon Byrd
1B Hank Blalock
DH Nelson Cruz
RF Josh Hamilton
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
SS Elvis Andrus
RHP Tommy Hunter



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