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September 1, 2009 at 5:07 PM

Adrian Beltre back in for Seattle Mariners — with a cup

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Adrian Beltre didn’t want to discuss whether or not he’d be wearing a protective cup for tonight’s start at third base. Beltre is getting fed up with all the questions and jokes flying around the past three weeks since he injured a testicle while trying to field a ground ball without the proper equipment.
But while he says he’ll never answer that particular question again, manager Don Wakamatsu did the talking for him.
“Adrian will wear a cup tonight,” Wakamatsu said.

“He’s played his whole career without it, but we’re just talking about for the future,” Wakamatsu added. “Making sure that everything stays intact. It’s important for him to do that.”
Wakamatsu was asked whether Beltre had picked out a particular style of protective cup.
“We’re still trying to see him on the Nutty Buddy,” Wakamatsu quipped, without missing a beat. “But I don’t know if he’s going to go for that.”
See the video above for a Nutty Buddy demonstration.
Beltre says he’s still in some pain, but could have been back in the lineup last Friday. Instead, the team asked him to wait until rosters were expanded as of today so a player did not have to be removed to make room for him.
As for which could cause him the most difficulty — fielding, hitting or running — Beltre says it’s the latter.
“I would have to say running,” he said. “I’m not sure what it’s going to be like in a game, so we’ll just have to find out.”
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In other news, Ichiro finally gets back in the lineup tonight. He’s had a few extra days to get back to running at full speed and his bat looked good swatting a few balls over the fence in BP>
Wakamatsu said there is a strong possibility that Russell Branyan will not be back this season. Branyan is on the DL with a herniated disc in his back and the team is targetting a mind-month return in hopes he responds to treatment.
Branyan had an epidural today and supposedly feels better, but nobody can say for sure when or if he’ll be back.
“I think with the bulging disc, there’s a strong chance that he won’t come back,” Wakamatsu said. “Our dialogue has been to shoot for the 15th. he’s played with pain, but again, nothing that had a long-term effect. We wouldn’t play him in that case. But we’ve had a couple of different conversations saying ‘Let’s shoot for the 15th. Let’s see if you can’t come back at that time.’ ”
Wakamatsu added: “If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen. But I think it’s important for him, talking to him, that he’s able to rejoin the club before the year is out.”
First baseman Mike Carp is up here, as we mentioned earlier, and will start in Branyan’s spot tonight. We will likely see some more bats up shortly, once Class AAA Tacoma finishes up its shot at the playoffs. For now, taking only Carp is away the M’s can help themselves while not inflicting too much damage on Tacoma.
The M’s could need some more bats shortly. Ken Griffey Jr. had an MRI on his knee today and is not expected back until at least the Thursday start of a series in Oakland.
As for Carp, he’s been playing some outfield for Tacoma as well as first base, and says he’s ready to handle any position the M’s want him to play. He has no regrets, obviously, about beinh here, even though he was plucked right out of the heart of a AAA playoff race.
“The whole goal is to make the big leagues,” he said. “We have plenty of guys on that team who can help fill in while I’m up here. I have no doubt they’ll do fine.”
Carp says it took him some time to get back into things in AAA after his first go-around with the Mariners earlier this summer.
“Just getting used to my old routine again,” he said. “I had a different routine down there than I did up here in the big leagues and it just took some time to adjust again.”

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