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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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March 17, 2008 9:50 AM

Tightening up

Posted by Larry Stone


Hi, everyone. Larry Stone pinch-blogging today. The skipper, Geoff Baker, decided it was time to use the left-handed bat off the bench.

Like Archie Bell and the Drells (a musical reference that betrays my advanced years), John McLaren says it's time for the team to tighten up. It's two weeks to Opening Day, 10 days until they break camp in Arizona. After Tuesday's off day, he said, he will start playing the regulars almost exclusively, and work to settle on the ultimate batting order. He still is unclear, mainly, on who will bat second (Jose Vidro or Yuniesky Betancourt, presumably; I'll bet Vidro), and who will hit fourth, fifth and sixth. The candidates are Adrian Beltre, Richie Sexson and Brad Wilkerson (with Raul Ibanez at No. 3). The only question is what order. I'm thinking that they'll end up Beltre, Wilkerson and Sexson, which gives them a left-right-left-right setup in the middle.

I'll go out on a limb and predict that the leadoff hitter is going to be Ichiro.

Cha Seung Baek is going to pitch today in Surprise against the Rangers (the Mariners also play a game in Peoria against the Brewers (I've seen enough Brewers already to provide a scouting report to the Pittsburgh Pirates). Baek is kind of the forgotten man, but McLaren insisted he still had a chance to make the team as a long man. Listen to the audio HERE. Oh, wait, I just remembered. I'm a technological moron who has no idea how to download an audio clip. So you'll just have to read his words. I'm old school. Geoff is on assignment and will be back very soon with all his fancy gizmos. Suffice it to say, there will be no photos, videos, or artists' renderings today. I might do an interpretive dance later in the afternoon, or perhaps a haiku.

Anyway, here's what McLaren said about Baek:

"He’s in the mix. We’re goinng to give him a good look. He’s had some good games for us in Seattle, and he’s had some injuries. He seems to be well. Maybe he hasn’t got the headlines like some of the other guys, but we are giving him a good look."

The question with Baek seems to be whether he can get ready in the bullpen fast enough to serve as a long man. He's out of options, so they risk losing him if they send him down.

Here are the lineups:

Mariners at Rangers

MARINERS

8 Jeremy Reed (L) LF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez (L) DH
6 Brad Wilkerson (L) RF
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
10 Greg Norton (S) 1B
13 Miguel Cairo SS
15 Jamie Burke C
25 Charlton Jimerson CF
----------------------------
58 Cha Seung Baek RHP

Additional Pitchers:
41 R.A. Dickey RHP
48 Roy Corcoran RHP
59 Eric O'Flaherty LHP
74 Philip Barzilla LHP
50 Rich Dorman RHP*
59 Jason Mackintosh LHP*

* from Minor League Camp

Texas Rangers
5 Ian Kinsler 2B
27 Frank Catalanotto (L) DH
10 Michael Young SS
32 Josh Hamilton (L) CF
29 Jason Botts (S) LF
9 Hank Blalock (L) 3B
22 Marlon Byrd RF
23 Ben Broussard (L) 1B
25 Jarrod Saltalamacchia (S) C
---------------------------------------------
Jason Jennings RHP

Additional Pitchers:
59 Josh Rupe RHP
55 Robinson Tejeda RHP
58 Wes Littleton RHP
-- Doug Mathis RHP

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Brewers at Mariners


Milwaukee Brewers
23 Rickie Weeks 2B
30 Craig Counsell 3B
22 Tony Gwynn LF
1 Corey Hart RF
13 Eric Munson C
20 Laynce Nix CF
53 Ozzie Chavez SS
35 Brendan Katin DH
11 Mike Rivera 1B
----------------------------
39 Chris Capuano LHP

Additional Pitchers:
66 Chris Narveson LHP
75 Steve Bray RHP

Seattle Mariners
51 Ichiro (L) CF
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
3 Jose Vidro (S) DH
44 Richie Sexson 1B
50 Wladimir Balentien RF
2 Kenji Johjima C
16 Willie Bloomquist 2B
12 Mike Morse LF
78 Matt Tuiasosopo 3B
----------------------------
52 Carlos Silva RHP

Additional Pitchers:
18 Ryan Rowland-Smith LHP
31 Ryan Feierabend LHP
38 Jon Huber RHP
46 Sean White RHP
49 Jake Woods LHP


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