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April 19, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Saturday’s pregame notes, links and line-ups vs. the Marlins

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Lot of lefties in the line-up today against right-hander Henderson Alvarez.

“We got a lot of lefties,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Against most right-handers we match up pretty good. It’s an opportunity to get a lot of lefties in there.”

You’ll notice that Corey Hart isn’t in the game. It’s not because he’s not left-handed .It’s because they are resting him after playing back-to-back days in the field.

“This was planned,” McClendon said. “He came in last night and said, ‘I feel great.’ And I said, ‘Good. I want to keep it that way, you are off tomorrow.’ He really wanted to play today, but it just makes sense. You just can’t be that short sighted. You have to see the big picture.”

And that big picture means not playing Hart despite losing four games in a row.

“Go back and look at the history of baseball, even the best of teams four, five, six and seven in a row,” McClendon said. “It’s like I told my club last night, ‘We’re fine. Just relax. Everything is going to be ok. We are no different than anyone else.'”

Hart will still be available for pinch hitting duty.

Abraham Almonte continues to be a polarizing player amongst fans. Some fans like him – they like the potential, the speed and the extra base ability. Some fans dislike him – they hate the strikeouts, the craziness on the bases and the fact that he looks like Rampage Jackson. Ok, I made that last part up. Like him or dislike him, he’s in the line-up every day and it doesn’t seem like it will change.

Almonte is tied for the team lead with 17 hits with Robinson Cano. He also leads the team in strikeouts with 25. He’s scored eight runs, tied for second most on the team. Obviously the strikeout are too high, but McClendon wasn’t too concerned.

“I think he will get better as he gets around the league a second time,” McClendon said. “He has to learn the pitchers. The strikeouts last night – they were on pitches 97, 97 mph. Most guys will strike out on that. That didn’t really bother me. I think he’s making a conscious effort with two strikes to be a better hitter. The other part of that comes with knowledge of the leagues. ”

Another reason for the strikeouts is Almonte is willing to get to two strikes. He’s seeing 4.08 pitches per at-bat, behind Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak and Corey Hart.

“We are asking a young player to lead off, which is really, really tough – not only to fit in, but to be impactful at the top of your order,” McClendon said. “That’s a tough gig. I think he’s doing a fantastic job to this point. And I think he will get better.”

Nick Franklin was out doing early work in right field with outfield coach Andy Van Slyke. Franklin remarked that outfield is much easier than infield. But it didn’t look like it on those drills. Van Slyke worked Franklin hard with plenty of balls hit over his head that he had to chase down. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Franklin in the outfield today or tomorrow.

“If I had to put him out there, I’d feel comfortable with it,” McClendon said. “I’d have no problem at all.”

A few more notes and some links …

A few people on Twitter groused about McClendon not bunting with Ackley in the sixth inning with runners on first and second with no outs. I wouldn’t have bunted either because I don’t like bunting much. But McClendon said he was going for the big inning – the Mariners taxed bullpen being a factor for that thinking. He liked Ackley hitting in that situation. He also pointed out that with Zunino and a pinch hit spot following against a power right-hander wasn’t ideal. He also said he doesn’t like playing for the tie on the road.

James Paxton still isn’t throwing and will be re-evaluated later this week.

Taijuan Walker is scheduled for shot in his shoulder and will be re-evaluated in seven days.


Here’s the upcoming probables …

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