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April 18, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Friday’s pregame notes and line-ups vs. the Marlins

Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 3.35.12 PM

Updated 4:35 p.m. Giancarlo Time

Manager Lloyd McClendon wanted to keep Corey Hart’s bat in the line-up today and found a way at first base.

“It’s a couple of things,” McClendon said. “Obviously, we keep his bat in the lineup. I didn’t want to put him back in the outfield back-to-back days. And we also get a chance to give our first baseman (Justin Smoak) a day off.  He hasn’t missed a game. We want to make sure he stays strong as well. It’s a combination of both things.”

Hisashi Iwakuma threw a 35 pitch simulated game with James Jones, Logan Morrison and Stefen Romero batting against him. 

“I thought Kuma threw pretty darn good,” McClendon said. “He was pain-free. I thought he had good extension. I was pleased.”

Iwakuma was very happy after throwing.

“I felt good today in general,” he said. “It was my first time facing hitters. I was kind of nervous trying to find my balance. But I was able to throw strikes so that was good.”

Iwakuma had good velocity and wasn’t holding back.

“I was going 100 percent just like a game,” he said through translator Antony Suzuki. “And I had no pain. I was pain free in my finger. Everything was good.”

While Iwakuma was giving 100 percent, he said he was about 70 percent of himself on the mound.

“I still need to command my pitches and get that feel back of pitching,” he said.

Iwakuma will throw a bullpen session on Sunday and then go head out to rehab assignment with Triple A Tacoma possibly on Tuesday, according to McClendon said.

“We just want to see him continue to progress and stay healthy,” McClendon said.

But how long will it take?

“I’m not sure if it’s going to take 20 innings,” McClendon said. “We’ll see. I hope it doesn’t take 20 innings. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t take 20 innings. The main thing is, when he comes back, we have to make sure he’s ready to compete at the major-league level with all of his pitches. That could take less than 20. Or it could take 20. We’ll see.”

In terms of total pitches McClendon, Iwakuma doesn’t need to be at 100 to come back.

“I think he needs to be somewhere around 90 pitches when he comes back to the big leagues,” he said. “If you look at his track record. He’s always been pretty efficient and could go deep into games with 90-95 pitches.”

As expected, McClendon named Brandon Maurer his Sunday starter. Maurer was told last night in Tacoma and he’ll join the team in the next day. McClendon didn’t have a lot of choices, but he wouldn’t shortchange Maurer.

“I don’t think it’s just that he’s the last arm,” McClendon said. ” I think he probably deserved it. He was in consideration in spring training to make this club. I think he deserves this opportunity.”

Maurer threw 49 pitches in his last start. Obviously, he won’t jump up to 100 pitches in his Sunday start. But McClendon wouldn’t give a direct number.

” I think he’s on a pitch count,” he said. “I don’t want to say what it is. I don’t want the opposition knowing what that is. But he’s like anybody else; we’ve got to watch what he does out there. Are they stressful pitches? So yeah, he’s on a pitch count, but I don’t want to reveal what that number is.”

*** Kyle Seager was taking a very intense early hitting session with Andy Van Slyke throwing, McClendon watching and hitting coach Howard  Johnson taking video as well.

“We’re just trying to get his hands in a better position,” McClendon said. “Get him in a better hitting position. So he can get that feeling and understand what it is, where he needs to be before he attacks. I think he had a pretty good session today in the cages as well as on the field. Hopefully, it will carry over to the game. There’s been some progress with him. He’s getting better. Listen, he’s just off to a slow start. But I have no doubt that he’s going to hit. When it’s all said and done, his numbers should be where they’re supposed to be.”

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