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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 31, 2008 12:34 PM

McLaren sets bar high

Posted by Geoff Baker

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A look at the Mariners going through their pre-game stretch and batting practice. By the way, some early news that could help the Mariners today: Texas leadoff man Ian Kinsler has the flu and is not in today's starting lineup. Ramon Vasquez takes his place. Kinsler could be available for pinch-hit duty. Everything is a little early today because of Opening Day festivities. That includes Mariners manager John McLaren and his pre-game media session.

"The bar has been set high, let's be honest about it,'' McLaren said, adding that he's as responsible for that as anyone. "It's been set high for all of us. The organization did their part, went out and got us some pitching. Some real good pitching. We had a good team in place to start with. We've got a year under our belt for our young players. Now we need to go out and do it.''

Hear what McLaren said in this audio clip.

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McLaren went on to talk about the importance of having more depth in the minors this season. Guys he can rely on to be called up if the team runs into injury troubles, or simply struggles through prolonged slumps. he's talking about folks like R.A. Dickey and Greg Norton, not to mention Jeff Clement and Wladimir Balentien. I expect to see all four up here at some point.

he was asked about Erik Bedard and how he's doing. McLaren was quick to note that Bedard's velocity was high, in the 90s, and that he's ready to go. It's no coincidence that McLaren talked about velocity right off the bat. ESPN baseball writer Jason Stark was on a local radio program today and mentioned scouts telling him Bedard's velocity was down by several miles per hour in spring training from what it was last season. I can tell you, McLaren does read what's written and listen to what's said on the airwaves about his team. He went on the same radio show right after Stark, so his comments today were obviously in response to what was said. We'll see how hard Bedard is throwing in a few hours.

By the way, keep those predictions coming in on the comments thread of the previous post. We're going to go back to it once the season is over. Get yourselves on the record now. It's easy to predict things after the fact.

Here are today's lineups:


Rangers (0-0):

12 Ramon Vazquez 2B
10 Michael Young SS
32 Josh Hamilton CF
9 Hank Blalock 3B
21 Milton Bradley DH
22 Marlon Byrd RF
7 David Murphy LF
15 Gerald Laird C
23 Ben Broussard 1B
----------------------------
33 Kevin Millwood RHP

Mariners (0-0):

51 Ichiro Suzuki CF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
44 Richie Sexson 1B
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
6 Brad Wilkerson RF
3 Jose Vidro DH
2 Kenji Johjima C
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
----------------------------
45 Erik Bedard LHP


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