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June 30, 2014 at 1:17 PM

Monday’s pregame notes and lineups vs. the Astros

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Note: Big thanks to Bob Condotta for covering the weekend games so I could sneak back to Montana. I owe him for letting me have the chance to go back and do  something important to me.

Update 5:03 p.m. 

Forgot to post it earlier … but the M’s get to see an old friend in Chicago.

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Update 4:05 p.m. 

Manager Lloyd McClendon discussed his reasoning for sending out Stefen Romero and instead of Brandon Maurer to make room for Taijuan Walker on the 25-man roster.

“No. 1 our pitching has been our foundation,” he said. This gives us a chance to protect it a little bit and shorten up ball games. We all know offensively we are probably challenged a little. So to get an opportunity to shorten games when we can. We can protect guys. We don’t have to overuse anybody. And this guy (Maurer) has been pretty impressive coming out of games. It’s pretty hard to ignore. He’s been pretty impressive in the few times and we’d like to see more of him.”

“It’s not like we’ve had this tremendous bench that we run to every game and use it. That factored in as well. You’re in the American League. You have a DH. You don’t pinch hit that much. You don’t use your bench that much. We don’t play the National League till July 18.”

Romero also gets to play every day. He’s played sporadically of late.

“I think that comes into play as well. It gives him a chance to go down and get some at-bats. I think this young man has a bright future. But I know having lived it, having done it. That it’s the hardest job in all of baseball to play once or twice a week and expect to be productive. I think if he gets back here, he’ll be better for it.”

*** James Paxton threw a 35-pitch bullpen this afternoon. He said everything went well.

“I felt really good,” he said. “The ball was coming out pretty well. I felt smooth. It was good.”

Paxton threw mostly fastballs and change-ups, but did mix in some curve balls. He will throw a bullpen on Friday or around 45-50 pitches. If that goes well, he’ll throw a simulated game during the homestand in Seattle.

*** Kyle Seager got to meet with the media to talk about being named American League player of the week.

It’s not something he enjoys.

“I’d rather talk about Felix,” he said.

When told that Felix Hernandez finished behind him in the voting for the award, Seager replied, “well, he should have won.”

Perhaps, but Seager’s numbers were pretty impressive over the last seven days.

“It’s an honor and I’m really happy to get it this time,” he said. 

In six games last week, Seager racked up 14 hits, hitting .583 (14-for-24)  with  a .958 slugging percentage and driving in a league-high eight runs. He had hits in every game last week, helping the Mariners to a 4-2 record on the week. The 14 hits included a pair of homers to go with three doubles and five runs scored.  He had five multi-hit games,including four straight.

“I’m definitely a lot more comfortable in there,” he said. “I’m definitely feeling better. Some of the stuff we’ve been working is starting to creep in the game, which is always nice.”

*** Taijuan Walker will have no limitations in his starts. Typical 100ish pitch limit.

*** Corey Hart and Justin Smoak are doing fine on their rehabs. But there is no imminent decision to bring them back.

“I would say it’s at least a few more days for sure,” McClendon said.

Smoak’s rehab assignment is up on July 7. Hart’s is up on July 10.

From earlier

The roster move was made official about an hour ago – Taijuan Walker was recalled from Tacoma. He’ll start tonight.

Two of his three MLB starts last season came against the Astros. So they’ve seen  him before. Here’s their numbers against him.

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The Mariners will be facing right-hander Collin McHugh for the third time this season. McHugh threw 6 2/3 shutout innings against Seattle in Safeco Field on April 22. He struck out 12  batters. The Mariners came back on May 4 at Minute Maid Park, scoring six runs on eight hits in four innings off him.

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Here’s today’s official game notes …

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