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February 27, 2014 at 8:13 AM

A few morning notes, links and a line-up for today’s first Cactus League game

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Good morning! Real live baseball will be played today. Yes, I know that spring training games don’t matter. I know the results are meaningless. You don’t have to remind me, I was sitting here last year and watched the Mariners crush balls out of every park and win games, getting people excited. I then sat through a season where they didn’t hit anything but homers and still lost a plethora of games.

But after watching drills upon drills for the last two weeks, seeing actual game action is nice change-up. Also, they have a really good gyro stand inside Peoria Stadium. And since I’ve eaten healthy exactly one time since I’ve been here, why stop now?

Relievers scheduled pitch … Blake Beavan, Logan Kensing, Lucas Luetge, Tom Wihelmsen, Joe Beimel, Danny Farquhar.

Official game notes

Quick note … it appears that 710-AM will be broadcasting the game live today. Also you can stream the radio version for free on mariners.com . I will also carry on Geoff’s tradition of live game blogs. It’s something we stopped doing when I was at the TNT, but that was because we weren’t generating a ton of comments or traffic on the posts. That’s a little different at the times. So, I will do the live blog — unless anyone objects to them, anyone? anyone? Bueller? Bueller?  I’m not sure of the format. But it probably be different than how Geoff did it.

On the news front from our meeting with Lloyd McClendon, the hope is that Taijuan Walker will throw off the mound in the next few days. The same goes for Brandon Maurer, who is battling a sore lower back. McClendon admitted that Maurer is starting to fall behind in his throwing program.

Hisashi Iwakuma meets with his hand and finger specialist on Friday. If all goes well, he could be cleared to start throwing. Iwakuma has been doing a lot of conditioning and dry work (no baseball) with his mechanics.

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed,” McClendon joked.

As for the line-up, Corey Hart isn’t in there just because he wasn’t scheduled to play today. McClendon said he’ll be in there tomorrow.

Abraham Almonte will be batting lead-off today. McClendon said we’ll see several different players in the lead-off this spring, including Nick Franklin, Dustin Ackley, Xavier Avery and Michael Saunders. I assume you can add Brad Miller to that group, even though McClendon didn’t mention him.

“He’s an interesting guy,” McClendon said. “He’s a switch hitter. He has tremendous speed with the ability to bunt, steal bases from first to home. That’s what you are looking for in a lead-0ff guy. He fits the bill.”

Rich Donnelly will be coaching third base for the Mariners today with John Stearns.

Following up on my story from today’s paper about Robinson Cano working with Justin Smoak on his hitting by having him do the net drill. You can click here for some video of them doing the drill.

McClendon was asked about it today and he was more than happy to see Cano do that.

“I think that’s great,” McClendon said. “That’s what Robinson brings to the table. Great players make other players better.”

When it was mentioned that Smoak seems open to suggestions about his swing, McClendon corrected the thought …

“I think he’s open to being better and understanding he has to be a more productive player,” McClendon said. “He’s a very a willing participant. He’s getting better.”

Something I didn’t mention in the article was that Cano and Smoak stayed after the drill for about 15-20 minutes signing autographs for fans.

LINKAGE …. 

Ashley Varela of Lookout Landing continues her series of previews with the bullpen.

There was some reaction to the Chone Figgins comments in the LA Times. Jeff Sullivan of USS Mariner had these thoughts, while C0lin O’Keefe of Lookout Landing had this post. Speaking of my friend, Mr. Sullivan, he also has this blog on Fangraphs projecting the most improved teams for 2014.

As would be expected, Fangraphs had a response to Ron Washington’s outburst about bunting. For the record, I’m not a huge fan of bunting. I’m also not a huge fan of Chone Figgins, vegetables, warm beer, Taylor Swift and Starbucks.

You’ve probably seen the highlights , but Josh Reddick made some Reddick-ulous (see what I did there?) catches yesterday, twice robbing former Mariner Michael Morse of home runs.

Joe Saunders worked out for the Texas Rangers. That would be interesting considering how poorly he pitches in Texas.

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