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April 1, 2014 at 1:49 PM

Tuesday’s pregame notes and line-up vs. Angels

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Official game notes04.01.14 Game Notes

Official opening day rosters for Mariners minor league teams …. 2014_MiLB Opening Day Rosters

Here’s the Mariners’ line-up for today. As expected, Corey Hart and Stefen Romero are in the line-up with lefty CJ Wilson getting the start for the Angels. John Buck gets the start tonight over Mike Zunino, which was a little surprising.

But manager Lloyd McClendon said before the season started that he hoped to get all of his players some action in the first few games.

“If you don’t, you just wasted the last 25 days of spring training,” he said. “A guy sits for seven or eight days, that’s not good. Mike is fine. We just wanted to get Bucky in there.”

Zunino had a busy opening night. Besides hitting a triple and striking out a few times, Felix Hernandez bounced about 15 pitches in the dirt that Zunino had to block. It’s not a bad thing to give him a night off.

“He did a great job,” McClendon said. “It gives your pitcher a lot of confidence when you know your catcher is going to do a good job of blocking pitches. You are able to stay below the zone.”

As for the line-up featuring Romero and Hart, it seems likely that it could be the same tomorrow against lefty Hector Santiago. But McClendon wouldn’t label it a “platoon.”

“We want better balance against left-handers. I think with Hart and Romero and sometimes Willie, we have better balance,” McClendon  said. “But I’m not ready to say we have a platoon-type line-up. It’s a combination of things. It gives us better balance and it gives me a chance to get these guys in early and keep them sharp.”

Abraham Almonte’s attempted steal of second in the first inning was called from the dugout. But Jered Weaver used the slide step from the stretch effectively and had one of his fastest times to home on the pitch (yes they time that) , according to McClendon.

“Weaver picked a good time to be really quick to the plate,” he said. “Looking at the play, I still thought he was safe. But it obviously wasn’t worth challenging at the time.”

McClendon has not given Almonte the green light to steal whenever he chooses. That’s trust has to be earned.

“I think he has the ability, but he doesn’t know the league yet,” McClendon said. “Until he learns the league, I will help him along.”

Charlie Furbush will be available to pitch after getting hit with ball last night.

McClendon went to the hospital to see Angels hitting coach Don Baylor in the hospital. It was a brief visit as Baylor was being prepped for surgery on his broken femur.

“It seemed like he was in good spirits,” McClendon said. “He was an idol of mine.”

Corey Hart will be playing his first major league game since Oct. 1, 2012. It’s seemed like a distant possibilities at times as he recovered from multiple knee surgeries.

“Any time you miss a full year, you start to appreciate the job we have and what we get to do,” he said. “To not have that for a complete year, it will be a special day.”

Hart feels like the string of minor league games with seven at-bats per game last week helped him with his timing.

“You get 30 at-bats in three or four days, it’s hard not figure something out,” he said. “I was just trying to see pitches and try to get the timing and adjustments down and get through with no setbacks.”

Hart said he has never hit well in spring training, even when he was healthy. This year was no different despite the injuries.

“It’s all the same,” he said. “It’s a different ballgame once the season starts. I worked through everything I needed to work through. I made it and I didn’t have to start the season on the DL so that was a big step. Now it’s just going out there and get the nerves out of the way.”

Romero admitted he will have some butterflies tonight when he steps on the field in his first big league start.

“I feel like I will be a little nervous,” he said. “But after that first pitch, that first fly ball, that first hit, it will be smooth sailing from there hopefully.”

McClendon offered a little advice to him during early batting practice.

“He said to stay aggressive and don’t change what you’ve been doing or what go you here in the first place,” Romero said.

Joking with Romero about swinging at a first pitch fastball, he replied, “Don’t get cheated.”

Romero’s family, his aunt and uncle and girlfriend were there last night and they will be here tonight.

“Seeing them will give me a sense of comfort and calm me down,” he said.

The Mariners minor league rosters have been announced (link above, screen cap below) … I talked with Chris Gwynn about the assignments a week ago and he said that he planned on sending Peterson to High Desert because he wanted him to get off to a good start. That’s a place to do it.

The other mild surprise is Chris Taylor being on the roster in Tacoma along with Nick Franklin. Taylor is one of the better shortstop prospects in the organization. It’s unclear how they will balance the situation out. It doesn’t mean that Nick Franklin will be playing a lot of outfield. But this might make it easier for him to play out there a few times a week.

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Early notes 

Some people have been asking, but the Mariners announced that Felix Hernandez will make his home debut on Friday, April 11. There will be a Supreme Court promotion that night.

Former Mariner Paul Sorrento, who still lives in Seattle, will serve as interim hitting coach for the Angels as Don Baylor recovers from his broken femur. Former Mariners’ hitting coach Dave Hansen is the team’s assistant hitting coach.




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