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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 3, 2008 5:45 PM

Hernandez throws, Rowland-Smith blogs, Clement struggles

Posted by Geoff Baker

tiggers0703 007.jpg

A shot of Mariners manager Jim Riggleman, above, chatting with some players during mandatory pre-game fielding practice. That's one new addition to this M's team since it got beaten by the Detroit Tigers in a pair of series about six weeks ago. We'll see if the M's look a little better prepared this time. Some good news on Felix Hernandez today. He threw for 10 minutes on flat ground from a distance of 90 feet and felt good. There's a big chance he'll see a start before the all-star break.

"He didn't experience any problems so that's very encouraging,'' Riggleman said. "It makes us feel better about, well, any time he's eligible to come off the disabled list, he would be able to pitch right then.''

Before I go any further, Ryan Rowland-Smith has started blogging for a new site. Check it out right here. OK, back to the post...

Riggleman was asked about the struggles of catcher Jeff Clement, who is behind the plate again tonight. Clement is hitting just .179 with a .286 on-base percentage and a .310 slugging percentage over 84 at-bats with the M's this season. He's gone 7-for-36 (.194) since being recalled for his second go-around with the team.And he's struck out in 12 of those ABs, which is slightly better than in his first shot with the club, but not all that great.

"What you see happening there, that's what's happened,'' Riggleman said with a shrug. "We're just giving him every opportunity to get it going. It's tough. It seems lkike they're making great pitches on him. And it goes that way sometimes. Guys are getting their hits, but you step up there and you're the guy that he makes all his great pitches of the night on. And that seems to be happening to him. He's just really not getting that many pitches in the center of the plate that he can just jump on and get it going.

"If he does, you want to build on it but then they continue to make good pitches on him. He just hasn't gotten on track. But we know he's a good hitter. We know he's going to hit. But it's tough. It's tough for a guy coming up trying to establish himself in the big leagues.''

tiggers0703 021.jpg


The lineup:

TIGERS (42-42)

28 Curtis Granderson CF
14 Placido Polanco 2B
9 Carlos Guillen 3B
24 Miguel Cabrera 1B
20 Matt Joyce RF
3 Gary Sheffield DH
36 Clete Thomas LF
7 Ivan Rodriguez C
46 Michael Holliman SS

35 Justin Verlander RHP


MARINERS (33-51)

51 Ichiro RF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
3 Jose Vidro DH
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
8 Jeremy Reed CF
44 Richie Sexson 1B
9 Jeff Clement C
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS

52 Carlos Silva RHP

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Posted by Andrew

6:11 PM, Jul 03, 2008

AAAAHH, why is he 4th again?! The only complaint I have with the lineue but he keeps on doing it. I predict a big night for Clement. Silva I'm worried about though, remember the last two starts against Detroit?

Posted by bammy

6:25 PM, Jul 03, 2008

Geoff,
Please ask Riggleman why he bats Vidro clean-up? I'm just confused as to why anyone thinks he is the best option we have for that spot.

Posted by FLAdam

6:25 PM, Jul 03, 2008

I know - maybe theycould shop Vidro around in Japan? We could maybe get a year supply of sushi to lower the price of the Ichiroll...

Too bad the South Coast League folded - Vidro could have torn it up down here for the Cecil Fielder-managed Charlotte County Redfish. I hear Ripkin Jr.'s bringing the Vero Beach Rays here to Port Charlotte. Real babseball again!!! Happy Days!!!

Posted by Scout

6:28 PM, Jul 03, 2008

Is that Jeff trotting in the bottom photo? He looks a bit more portly than I had seen before. I say keep him in there. No chance of a flag this year. We have to know what we have in the guy.

Posted by doug

6:29 PM, Jul 03, 2008

clement is da big bust, shoulda traded him instead of tillman!!!!!!!!!! what a screw off

Posted by FLAdam

6:32 PM, Jul 03, 2008

Poor Jeff - I know all too well the perils of bubble-buttedness. The thick, powerful thighs ending in enormous ass stumps.

Plus...those warm-up pull-overs do nothing for a guys' figure, unless it's Richie, then it's like a baby tee

Posted by bpeto

6:58 PM, Jul 03, 2008

Perhaps they think that Vidro will see better pitches batting in front of Beltre. Only thing I can think of that makes any sense for him batting 4th.

Posted by Matt

7:13 PM, Jul 03, 2008

Anybody know Why Bryan LaHair hasnt been playing for the past few days for the Rainiers?

Posted by Bums

5:30 AM, Jul 04, 2008

This team is going nowhere. Clement is a rookie. Give him time and a chance. He might be pressing, but I am sure things will slow down a bit once he catches on. I just hope they keep him up all season and give him a shot to figure it out. We might not see it until next year, but going back to AAA will only set him back because he has that mastered already. How many rookies come up and do great and then continue the greatness? But, why three catchers?

Posted by Bums

5:33 AM, Jul 04, 2008

Ugh, just read the RRS blog. That should be Morrow getting 80 pitches his next start. Yeah, Morrow is doing great as a closer, but you don't typically draft a guy so early to close.

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