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March 12, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Morning briefing

We have the news of the first cuts of camp below. They come on a day the Mariners will play the A’s here in Peoria and have set a lineup that is even closer to what the team may use on Opening Day than just about anything else we’ve seen, particularly the top six or so.
And you’ll note the lineup includes Franklin Gutierrez, who is back after missing two days to be with his family (his father-in-law is Braves minor league coach Luis Salazar, injured by a ball that hit him in the face earlier this week).
The lineup also includes Jack Wilson back at shorstop after he played second most of the past week.
Here’s the lineup:
Ichiro, RF
Chone Figgins, 3B
Milton Bradley, LF
Jack Cust, DH
Justin Smoak, 1B
Franklin Gutierrez, CF
Adam Kennedy, 2B
Jack Wilson, SS
Josh Bard, C
Blake Beavan, P
(And as noted earlier, Felix Hernandez will pitch today in a minor league scrimmage so as not to expose him again to the A’s).
Others who could pitch today include Luke French, Justin Miller, Brandon League, Jamey Wright, Dan Cortes, Jose Flores, Tom Wilhelmsen.
It’s the first start this spring for Beavan, who was part of the Cliff Lee trade.
Pitching coach Carl Willis said yesterday that he has “been really pleased” with Beavan. “He has thrown the ball really well and it’s a great opportunity for us to see him start a game and a great opportunity for him to start a game in a Major League spring training. But to this point we have been very happy with how he has performed.”
And speaking of League, former Reds’ and Nationals’ general manager Jim Bowden has a bunch of Tweets this morning about an interview he has done with Eric Wedge. Among the tidbits is that Wedge says David Aardsma will be back in mid-April but that League will be the closer until then.
No huge shock there, and the Mariners have essentially said that at other times.
Here’s what Willis had to say yesterday about the bullpen: “We’ve seen some really good things in the past week. Obviously, we are counting on Brandon League, a guy that is an experienced guy at the back end. We’ll work (Chris) Ray back out here soon. We saw (Denny) Bautista (Thursday) be himself. Saw (Fabio) Castro be very, very good his last two outings. (David) Pauley has piched well and could still transition into a starting role. So there’s a lot of competition, and I think a lot of good competition which is what we are hoping for.”
IN OTHER NEWS. …
— Here’s my story for today’s paper focusing on Michael Pineda.
— And here’s Larry Stone’s column on how the Japan earthquake touched the Mariners.
— Since the Mariners played the Inidians yesterday, there were a few stories about Wedge’s past with that organiation. Here’s one that notes all the former Indian staffers he brought to Seattle. And another along those same lines.
Jose Romero, who used to work at the Times and is now living and working in Arizona, offers a little feature on Felix Hernandez.
All for now.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins

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