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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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June 30, 2008 5:33 PM

Pre-game potpourri

Posted by Larry Stone

Larry Stone here at Safeco, jumping back on temporary blog duty.

Can you feel it, too? Yeah, the anticipation for Brad Wilkerson's long-awaited return to Safeco Field has this place just pumping with electricity.

Yuniesky Betancourt is out of commission today because of dental issues. Hey, at least he didn't hurt himself adjusting a pillow, like Brandon Inge of the Tigers. Apparently, Betancourt had some serious work done on his teeth today and is in quite a bit of discomfort. He may be available to pinch-hit. So Willie Bloomquist continues his eternal quest for his first extra-base-hit of the season while playing shortstop.

Richie Sexson is playing first base, which means that, yet again, I was dead wrong. I never thought they'd bring him back to Safeco Field to face the unruly mobs. But it's clear that the Mariners are not giving up hope that Sexson can turn it around enough to get someone to take him off their hands.

Here's what Jim Riggleman said when someone asked him about speculation that Sexson wouldn't be with the team when they came back from the road trip:

"Until you said that, I hadn't heard anything like that (Larry Stone interjecting here: Now I know he doesn't read this blog). We're just putting Richie out there, waiting for him to get it going, put some backspin on some balls and get them airborne. Do what Richie does to help the ballclub, which is hit the ball out of thet ballpark, get some doubles.''

Riggleman repeated what he said earlier, that he knows Sexson's hitting ability is still in there, just waiting to be tapped.

"We're being patient with him, and hopefully, he'll turn it on soon,'' he said.

Oh, Ryan Rowland-Smith will start tomorrow when the Mariners empty their bullpen to fill in the void left by Felix Hernandez, who is getting his ankle examined by the Mariners' doctor today. More on Felix's status could come before the night is done. For Rowland-Smith, starting is probably the least desirable spot in a situation like this. Since he's unlikely to go five, he's out of running for the victory no matter how well he pitches. It's the subsequent pitchers who have a chance to get the win on the "most effective reliever" proviso of the official scorer. Rowland-Smith benefitted from that rule in New York on the night Felix got hurt, so he owes one to Roy Corcoran, who is still looking for his first major-league win.



David Eckstein SS

Marco Scutaro 2B

Alex Rios RF

Vernon Wells CF

Matt Stairs DH

Scott Rolen 3B

Lyle Overbay 1B

Rod Barajas C

Brad Wilkerson LF

Roy Halladay P


Ichiro RF

Jose Lopez 2B

Raul Ibanez LF

Adrian Beltre 3B

Jeremy Reed CF

Richie Sexson 1B

Jeff Clement DH

Kenji Johjima C

Willie Bloomquist SS

R.A. Dickey P

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