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February 28, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Mariners manager Eric Wedge confirms Mike Carp as primary left fielder during media session

Hot off the presses, Blake Beavan will start Friday’s Cactus League opener against the Oakland Athletics. Now, on to other more long-term stuff. Meant to get into this a bit yesterday, but for those asking about our previous posts and stories stating that Mike Carp would be the primary left fielder this season, manager Eric Wedge confirmed that yesterday.
Wedge was responding to a question about the competition for the left field spot. Here’s what he had to say.
“Carp’s the guy who’s going to get the bulk of our at-bats out there,” Wedge said. “But he’s also going to have a little time at first base or DH, too.”

Not that this is entirely news, since we’ve been stating it for a while now based on conversations with officials connected to the team. But it’s one thing for us to tell it to you, another for a manager to flat-out say Carp has the job before a single Cactus League game has been played. So, now you have it.
Carp is starting at first base in today’s intra-squad game, just so the team keeps him fresh at his secondary position and gets a look at other guys in the outfield.
It’s like we’ve been saying: there is no real starting position player competition in camp. Barring injury, it’s all been decided. Casper Wells is looking like the leading contender for the fourth outfield spot.
“Wells is somebody I’m keeping a close eye on, too,” Wedge said. “I feel like we have to get a better feel for him. We really didn’t have a great chance to get a good feel for him last year because he was a little dinged up at the end of last year, too. But he came in in great shape. It looks like he made a few adjustments with his swing. I think that’s playing for him a little bit right now.
“But really,” he added. “We’re getting to the point now where we need to start playing some exhibition games against different teams and get a little bit more to work off of.”
Wells will start in left field today as the process of evaluating him continues.
Wedge went on to say that Michael Saunders and some other young outfielders are also in the mix and that Chone Figgins would get some outfield time as well.
But realistically, barring a total collapse by Carp this spring, he’s the left fielder, with Wells most likely the fourth outfielder. Wells isn’t going to beat Carp out based on some Cactus League at-bats, simply because the team got a much larger sample off Carp last year in games that mattered.
For Wells, his goal has to be to make the team this spring and see what he can do with the playing time he does get. Maybe he eventually beats Carp out for left field down the road, but it won’t be off of anything he does here. The Opening Day assignment has already been decided and Wedge just confirmed it.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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