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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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August 2, 2008 4:19 PM

Betancourt likely returning tomorrow; Woods called up

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

Yuniesky Betancourt's out of the lineup again today, as he's still recovering from a sore right elbow. That elbow, manager Jim Riggleman said, probably hasn't been right for a while.

""Reflecting on the shortstop play in the last month, there was a lot of times where I felt like he's not playing the ball as well as he can ... Overall, I don't know that we've seen him at 100 percent out there with his arm."

Riggleman wants to get Betancourt back in the lineup for his defense. The shortstop's swing is another matter. He's hitting just .180 in his last 100 at-bats, and his average has dropped to .255. Someone brought up the possiblity of sending him down to Tacoma to work on his swing.

"Once he's back right, I'd like to see him go out here and play when he feels better with his arm," Riggleman said, later adding, "It's the offensive part of the game that's going to have to progress. I haven't really thought about him going down to do that ... It's something you could talk about, but it would be a last resort. We really wouldn't want to do that."

The Mariners called up left-handed reliever Jake Woods today to fill the spot vacated by Arthur Rhodes. Woods has been up with the big-league team three years running now, though his 2007 stint was only four games. Riggleman said Woods will be mostly used in long relief and as an early option against left-handers. Which means Cesar Jimenez will be the guy to face lefties later in the game.

Bryan LaHair's hitting seventh today. In his first 33 at-bats with the M's, he's hitting .333/.405/.515. It's a small sample size, but I don't imagine you'll find too many 33 at-bat stretches this season where the former first baseman bested those numbers.

I asked Jim Riggleman about LaHair's fast start, and the manager said LaHair's pitch selection has been important.

"The best thing he's done is he's gotten good pitches to hit, and he's taking the bad stuff," Riggleman said.

But Riggleman was wary about the sample size. And he did point out that LaHair already had a couple infield hits, and he joked that "if Bryan LaHair gets an infield hit, that's not something he's doing right. That's just happenstance."

Baltimore

1. Brian Roberts 2B
2. Adam Jones CF
3. Nick Markakis RF
4. Aubrey Huff DH
5. Melvin Mora 3B
6. Luke Scott LF
7. Kevin Millar 1B
8. Ramon Hernandez C
9. Juan Castro SS

RHP Jeremy Guthrie


Seattle

1. Ichiro RF
2. Jeremy Reed CF
3. Raul Ibanez LF
4. Adrian Beltre 3B
5. Jose Lopez 2B
6. Jose Vidro DH
7. Bryan LaHair 1B
8. Jeff Clement C
9. Willie Bloomquist SS

RHP Felix Hernandez

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