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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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February 28, 2008 8:40 AM

Game Day

Posted by Geoff Baker

gameday 002.jpg

After more than two weeks of stretching, limbering up and drills, we've got...well, we've got more of that going on this morning. But after that, my friends, after that, we've got a real live baseball game with two different uniforms. No intrasquad stuff. It's the Mariners versus the Padres in a charity game at Peoria Stadium. Up above, you see a shot of the facility as employees prepare to welcome crowds for the 12:05 p.m. (PST) start. Again, not sure how you can have an exhibition game in an exhibition league, but the Cactus League opener isn't until tomorrow in Scottsdale. But today is Seattle's "home'' opener. Sort of, since the Padres also share the stadium. What am I trying to say? I don't know. I guess, that this is the first game in which the venue should be about half full with M's fans.

Here are the lineups for the game:

Mariners vs. Padres

February 28, 2008

San Diego Padres (0-0):

14 Jeff DaVanon CF
13 Oscar Robles 2B
5 Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
23 Adrian Gonzalez 1B
28 Josh Bard C
33 Jody Gerut RF
16 Chase Headley LF
64 Chip Ambres DH
2 Luis Rodriguez SS

54 Tim Stauffer RHP

Other pitchers:
21 Heath Bell RHP
43 Cla Meredith RHP
51 Trevor Hoffman RHP
59 Jared Wells RHP
50 Joe Thatcher LHP
38 Glendon Rusch LHP
37 Mike Gardner RHP

Mariners (0-0):

51 Ichiro Suzuki CF
3 Jose Vidro DH
6 Brad Wilkerson RF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
39 Bryan LaHair 1B
12 Mike Morse LF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
15 Jamie Burke C
16 Willie Bloomquist SS

56 Jarrod Washburn LHP

Other Pitchers:
43 Miguel Batista RHP
41 R.A. Dickey RHP
59 Eric O'Flaherty LHP
35 Brandon Morrow RHP
46 Sean White RHP
31 Ryan Feierabend LHP

"We just want to get our guys in shape,'' Mariners manager John McLaren said of his near-term goals these first couple of weeks.

OK, let's head off the first barrage of comments. Yes, the players are already in shape. He's talking game shape, not physical conditioning.

McLaren also said: "Wee want them to take chances on the bases.''

So, expect to see a bunch of guys thrown out right away. No, not everyone is going to be running amuck.

"I want to run,'' he said, "but we don't have an abundance of speed. What I want to do is maximize what we have.''

In other words, the guys with speed are being asked to be more aggressive. Jose Vidro and Jamie Burke are not going to be stealing bases.

I asked him about Kenji Johjima, since a few of you have asked me about any changes to what he's done in the past. The M's plan to work on various aspects of Johjima's game, like blocking the plate and some of the way he receives the ball.

As far as whether he'll set up sooner behind the plate, McLaren told me Johjima was already doing that more last season than he had been in 2006. I took this to mean he'll continue to look at progressing in that department, though he isn't necessarily umnder-the-gun to do so. To answer one email question, Johjima has absolutely no role in setting any defensive alignments. None. The most he'll do is yell out to the first or third baseman to be alert for potential bunts.

Richie Sexson is back. His 2-year-old son is apparently doing better than he was yesterday.

Jay Buhner arrives today to begin working with the outfielders. They'll work on alignments, routes to the ball, stuff like that.

Here's my thought for the day.

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