Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu has said repeatedly he wants to keep Josh Wilson in the lineup.
To make that happen Thursday against the Cubs, he gave Wilson the start at first base. It is the first time he has started there as a professional.
“He’s plenty athletic enough to do it,” Wakamatsu said. “It will be a good experience for him.”
Wilson came into the game batting .293 and is hitting .328 over his last 33 games. Wakamatsu wants to keep that bat in the lineup.
“It gives us some versatility,” the manager said.
With a trip to Milwaukee starting Friday, the Mariners wanted to get Mike Sweeney some at-bats, so he gets the nod at designated hitter today, giving Milton Bradley the day off.
“We thought today was a good day to get him in, get some at-bats,” Wakamatsu said. “The last time we played him at first base, he came up with a little bit of an Achilles’ problem, so that’s a concern.”
Bedard still on target
Wakamatsu said Erik Bedard is expected to throw around 70 pitches during his start in Arizona on Saturday. If that goes well, he is still expected to start in Tacoma next Thursday.
If all goes well, he could be back with the team for a start July 6 against Kansas City.
He threw a bullpen on Wednesday and Wakamatsu said the left-hander felt good. His velocity is up — he’s hitting about 93 right now — and his curveball is good. It’s just a matter of fine-tuning things.
“If his pitch count is up and there’s no problems then it could be as early as the 6th,” Wakamatsu said.
Wakamatsu added that the club is trying to get Bedard to use his changeup more to economize his pitches.
— Felix Hernandez gets the start today. He owns a 14-3 record in June. He has won 10 of his last 11 June decisions.
— Former Mariner Carlos Silva was expected to get the start, but he was scratched earlier this week after tweaking his hamstring in his last outing against Oakland. Ted Lilly (2-6, 3.42 ERA) will take his place.
Kosuke Fukudome RF
Ryan Theriot 2B
Marlon Byrd DH
Derrek Lee 1B
Tyler Colvin CF
Xavier Nady LF
Mike Fontenot SS
Chad Tracy 3B
Koyie Hill C
Ted Lilly P
Chone Figgins 2B
Mike Sweeney DH
Jose Lopez 3B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Josh Wilson 1B
Rob Johnson C
Jack Wilson SS
Michael Saunders LF
Felix Hernandez P