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May 5, 2014 at 3:14 PM

Monday’s pregame notes and line-ups vs. the A’s

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 Update 4:08 normal time

Just wrapped up the pregame meeting with manager Lloyd McClendon. He said James Jones will be playing plenty in the future.

“I just didn’t want to start him against Kazmir,” McClendon said.

McClendon has been high on Jones since spring training.

“He’s a very talented young man,” McClendon said. “He’s been touted for his defense and his ability to steal bases. I think he should be able to hit at this level. We’ll find out. He’s got an opportunity.”

McClendon said Jones will play center field. However, he will also use Michael Saunders in center field at times and right field in others with Stefen Romero playing right field on other occasions. McClendon didn’t get into specifics but said he might protect Jones against left-handed pitching early on.

“It depends on the lefty,” he said.

It seems like Saunders may get starts in center against tough/most lefties and start in right field the other times with right-handers on the mound. But McClendon says he won’t go straight platoon on any position.

As for Jones, McClendon believes he’s ready emotionally and from maturity standpoint.

“When he came up in when we were in Miami, I thought he did a great job for us in the short amount of time he had there,” McClendon said. “He wasn’t overwhelmed by the situation.”

Jones was all smiles in the clubhouse. But he knows this call-up is vastly different than the last time.

“I jut have to focus on the goals daily, just a one day at a time type of thing,” he said. “Just know that I’m not in control of anything. I have to go out there do what I do.”

Jones came up as right-fielder and started playing more center field starting Class A High Desert in 2012, appearing in 77 games there. He played center in 18 games with Jackson and three with Tacoma last season and appeared in 18 games in center with the Rainiers this season.

“It’s like normal to me now,” he said.

More notes …

McClendon admitted that Charlie Furbush’s struggles have caused him to rethink his usage in late-inning, high-leverage situations.

“I will say that for right now, maybe not,” he said. “But I need to keep pitching him. He’s got to continue to get better. And eventually he’ll get back in those high-end situations. It’s not to say you won’t see Charlie in late on some occasions because you will. It may be for just one hitter. But you will see him.”

Furbush was looked to be a major contributor in the bullpen and he simply hasn’t pitched well.

“Am I disappointed? Yes,” McClendon said. “Have I lost confidence? No. I think he’ll figure things out.”

After pitching two innings to get the save, Danny Farquhar won’t be available tonight in any situation. Tom Wilhelmsen will be available in an emergency situation only.

McClendon said that Rodney didn’t like being unavailable on Sunday in Houston.

“It didn’t go over too well,” McClendon said. “He still went down to the bullpen anyway, but I told him he wasn’t pitching. He went down there in his spikes and looked at me on the way down. And I told him, he’s still not pitching.”

McClendon said he’ll have a better idea of how he handle’s Wednesday’s double header by tomorrow. Felix Hernandez is starting one of those games. The expectation is for Erasmo Ramirez to start the other. But McClendon said they haven’t decided which game he will start.

In the most recent collective bargaining agreement, teams could add a 26th player to the roster for double headers. Since the rescheduled game is beyond 48 hours of when it was cancelled, the Mariners can use that 26th player for either or both games.

From earlier …. 

The Mariners go with Cole Gillespie and Stefen Romero in the corner outfield spots with lefty Scott Kazmir on the mound. Not a real surprise there. Here’s Kazmir’s splits (larger sample size) from last season.

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Michael Saunders remains atop the order. In his last four games, he’s 8-for-18 with two doubles and four RBI. In six games as lead-off, he’s hitting .391 (9-for-23). It’s a small sample size. Yes, his high BAPIP says he can’t sustain it. Then again, past history he can’t or won’t sustain it.

Forgot to post this yesterday, but Lloyd McClendon was asked (by a really good looking reporter named Ryan) about his concerns with the struggles of Charlie Furbush. This season has Furbush has made 14 appearances (9 1/3 innings pitched)  and allowed eight runs on 15 hits for a 7.71 ERA. In his last seven outings, he’s allowed five runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings pitched. He was supposed to be McClendon’s best left-handed option. Instead, it has been Joe Beimel.

“Sure, I’m a little concerned,” McClendon said of Furbush. “I’m concerned with his command, his ability to execute his pitches. We’re just going to continue to give him touch and feels in the bullpen. Regardless of how disappointed I am with how he’s going about it lately, he’s a big, big part of what we’re going to be and our success this year. We need Charlie Furbush to be successful. We’ve got to get him right.”

Linkage:

Here’s the game story and notebook if anyone missed them from yesterday. I got some more stuff from John Buck about Brandon Maurer and some of the mind games he plays with himself on the mound. I will have to go back and transcribe some more. But basically Buck talked about Maurer being so competitive that he gets so angry when things go poorly that he becomes so focused correcting a mistake pitch that he doesn’t realize the count and situation. As he admitted in the notebook, Maurer basically made it through that tough fifth inning by throwing everything that Buck called. As a former catcher, I agree with that thinking. Catchers always know better than pitchers. We always call the right pitch. And if it gets hits, the location was just bad.

Robinson Cano is mentioned prominently in Jeff Passan’s 10-degrees column this week. Passan mentions the lack of extra base hits and homers. Cano is batting .347 (17-for-49) with eight runs, four doubles, a triple and 10 RBI in the last 12 games. He has 10 RBI in the last eight games.

Here’s a good column from Tim Brown on Scott Kazmir and his battles in overcoming injuries and inconsistency.

 

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