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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 29, 2008 2:51 PM

Spring training is over!

Posted by Larry Stone

The next game the Mariners play will count in the standings. They finished up their exhibition season today with a 4-2 loss to the Cubs here in Vegas, with Kerry Wood throwing 99 mph heat in the ninth for the save. Seattle's final record is 13-16-3, which foretells absolutely nothing.

McLaren confirmed after the game that the Mariners will open the season with a Wilkerson-Morse platoon in right. He says he wants to ride Morse's hot bat and is afraid he will cool off with too much inactivity. Morse finished the spring with a .492 average, a Mariners' spring record by one point over Edgar Martinez's .491 in 1996.

McLaren also said that the lineup they used Saturday will be their Opening Day lineup (with Kenji Johjima at catcher instead of Jamie Burke). So here's how they'll line up against Kevin Millwood on Monday:

CF Ichiro

2B Jose Lopez

LF Raul Ibanez

1B Richie Sexson

3B Adrian Beltre

RF Brad Wilkerson

DH Jose Vidro

C Kenji Johjima

SS Yuniesky Betancourt

P Erik Bedard

No big surprises, because it has been apparent for a week that Lopez and Vidro were flip-flopping. Beltre made it clear he likes to hit behind a right-handed hitter, which might be why McLaren decided against the L-R-L-R combo in the middle.

Not much else to talk about. I think the Mariners are in position to win the AL West. No guarantees, of course. I picked them to win it in the newpspaper,and I probably would have even if the Angels didn't have their pitching injuries. I know a lot of people disagree. We'll have the next six months to find out who's right. Can't wait.

I'm in Vegas, folks. Good night.


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