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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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July 17, 2008 4:25 PM

LaHair up, Hulett down

Posted by Geoff Baker

workout0717 024.jpg

NOTE (4:40 P.M.): The Phillies just traded for starting pitcher Joe Blanton of the Oakland A's. See bottom of post.

Mariners manager Jim Riggleman is addressing the players on the field as I type this. Lots going on today. The Mariners finally called up first baseman Bryan LaHair from Class AAA, sending Tug Hulett down in his place. That explains the Craig Wilson acquisition. He's the minor league replacement for Hulett.

"I think I just want to be myself,'' LaHair said. "Kind of do what I want to do, stay focused.''

What does "being himself" equate to on the field?

"Produce, I like to produce,'' he said. "Driving in runs, whatever it may be. Moving the runner over. All the things the Mariners like to do.''

Here's a photo of LaHair, down below, catching a glimpse out of a major league dugout for the first time.

workout0717 013.jpg

Yes, Jose Vidro is still here. Riggleman sounds like he's going to keep batting him cleanup against righties, saying no major lineup changes are planned -- other than LaHair, who hits further down in the order to break into the majors. Against lefties, who the M's will see three of this coming series, it's Adrian Beltre hitting fourth and Jose Lopez batting fifth.

Here's something you won't see this series: Erik Bedard.

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He isn't here yet. His flight back from Ontario apparently got delayed by weather. Riggleman isn't sure whether he was able to throw at all. Said he won't try to rush him back. For now, Bedard doesn't figure into the rotation the first time through, meaning he wouldn't come back until at least three games into the Boston series, maybe longer. If he hasn't been throwing, he won't be able to start any time soon. Sounds like it's questionable whether he'll even get back in before the July 31 trade deadline.

We now keep hearing that Joe Blanton of the Oakland A's is about to be dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies. (in fact, here is is, he has been traded there). I think this means Bedard stays in Seattle until at least the off-season. If the Phillies are out, I just don't see enough competition for Bedard on the trade front. Without that competition, epsecially with Bedard on the DL and doubtful to pitch again in the next few days, I just can't see the M's getting anything decent as a return.

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