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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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Posted by Matt

4:54 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Pretty sure it's JEFF Clement, not MATT.

Posted by Tom Wyrwich

4:57 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Hold up! Funny how the mind works sometimes. Got that changed. Thanks for keeping me on my game.

Posted by M's Fan

4:59 PM, Aug 02, 2008

6. Jose Vidro DH
Talking about same Bull different day...

Posted by Brett in Bonney Lake

4:59 PM, Aug 02, 2008

WHY IS JOSE VIDRO STILL ON THIS TEAM?

Posted by GripS

5:00 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Not too bad of a lineup.... Oh wait.... There's Vidro again.... good god.

Posted by M Dogg

5:01 PM, Aug 02, 2008

"WHY IS JOSE VIDRO STILL ON THIS TEAM?"
Someone please ask Armstrong this question when and if you see him.

Posted by Ragarm

5:15 PM, Aug 02, 2008

My first reaction to this thread was the same as most everyone else's: Why is Vidro batting DH? Why is he playing? At least the Wiggleworm has moved him down to the #6 spot instead of 4.

Having Vidro in the lineup is stubborness that will not be rewarded!

Posted by fire_chuck

5:19 PM, Aug 02, 2008

There's NO good reason to keep playing Vidro. It hurts the team this year, and it hurts the team next year. This is the perfect time to put Ibanez at DH and see if he can play at that position. Meanwhile you can bring up Balentein and play him at LF for the rest of the year and see what he does with regular playing time. Reed should also play ever day.
The Ms "braintrust" is hurting the team going forward because Rigglemen doesn't care about the development of players here, since he won't be here in the future.

Posted by Bobby Hill

5:25 PM, Aug 02, 2008

I'm really glad to see Jake Woods back up with the team. I've always been a fan of his as I think he has a lot of talent and a great attitude. And I think he really got screwed out of a spot in in the rotation last year when the team decided to go with Ramirez and Weaver.

He's pitched very consistently this year in Tacoma... hopefully his success will carry over to the bigs.

Posted by downonstrikes

5:34 PM, Aug 02, 2008

fire_chuck,

well said!

Posted by M's Fan

5:35 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Win or lose, these games are meaningless. DFA Vidro and Burke. Bring Johnson up from Tacoma. He and Clement can share DH/catching duties. Bring Adam Moore to AAA.

Posted by zDawg

5:40 PM, Aug 02, 2008

I clicked on the link about former first baseman in the Bryan LaHair paragraph.

Those numbers were horrible.

Posted by NoRm

5:45 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Think Vidro is in there to give LaHair protection Riggles just lookin out for his rookie is all... ugh

Posted by Ms Fan in Exile

5:47 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Vidro is being put into the lineup to protect Lopez and his hitting streak. By putting Vidro behind Lopez, the opposing pitcher will be so worried, all he will do with Lopez is groove fastballs over the heart of the plate.

Posted by bikeman

5:48 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Felix is quietly putting up a great year. He is fourth among AL league starting pitchers in ERA. If he were on the Yankees or the Red Sox he would be getting a plethora of press for the Cy Young.

Posted by M Dogg

5:59 PM, Aug 02, 2008

"If he were on the Yankees or the Red Sox he would be getting a plethora of press for the Cy Young.
How long until that is reality? 2 years? less?

Posted by Nelson

6:02 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Geoff, Please answer me this. Why are guys like Victor Diaz, hitting 287 with 22 home runs and 87 rbi's in AAA and only 27 years old, and Prentice Redmond hitting 311 with 11 home runs and 26 years old and 27 years old. Why are these guys not getting the call up. These guys were top prospects 4 to 5 years ago and have never panned out. But alot of the time hitters reach there prime at 27 or 28 years old. Look at Carlos Pena, finally broke out last year, and the guy on the cardinals that made the allstar team, ludwick or whatever. We need to get these guys up and see if they have talent or if they are just AAA players.

Posted by ethan

6:06 PM, Aug 02, 2008

all these gentlemen are going through the wars...so a future club can pick them up and say...."HE'S BEEN THROUGH THE WARS."

Posted by Nelson

6:06 PM, Aug 02, 2008

And people need to stop getting on Jose Vidro. We know he has no future here. But the reality is since July 1st he is HItting .260 with 2 home runs and 10 rbi's. Not great numbers, but better then alot of guys on our team. The real people that need to go are Cairo and Willie. And we should have traded Putz, Raul, and Washburn for either prospects, or strictly to dump the Salary. We could have gotten Value for Putz and Raul, and we could have some prospects in here today building for the future. Our franchise is pathetic.

Posted by The Jose Vidro Society

6:11 PM, Aug 02, 2008

For those who keep calling the FO executives idiots and the like, we would suggest that they are in fact geniuses. Albeit evil geniuses, but geniuses nonetheless. Consider this: They have successfully managed to put butts in the seats night after night in their stadium that they got paid for by taxpayers against the will of taxpayers. Of course, they agreed to pay the cost overruns, but they devised a plan to sell their stadium's name to the highest bidder, thus virtually off-setting any such costs and coming out smelling like the proverbial rose.

So they now have created a tourist attraction, and promote a circus like atmosphere at their ballpark. While banning "Yankees Suck" T-Shirts, lesbians, and anything that could possibly be considered offensive to the desired "wholesome family environment". All the while doing their damndest to stop booing, bagheads, and all other reactions that don't fall in line with their "enjoy the food, knitting, moose, dancing grounds crew, cheer the players no matter what because they are TRYING" agenda. Fun for the whole family. Fun for the players. Fun for the FO. Fun for everyone except passionate, serious baseball fans.

While doing that, they have assembled/created one of the worst teams ever. This, coupled with their percieved mind-boggling decisions, and no comment policy has driven away the hard-core baseball fans. Fans that short of a World Series win every year, would never be completely satisfied anyway, and who would always find things to complain about. And that is their plan. Continue down that path until the last true baseball fan who actually cares is gone, thus eliminating all dissent, while 30,000 come to the stadium night after night for the "Show". And if a few writers stir up trouble, make a sacrifice once in a while, and continue to employ spin doctors that would make the best politicians jealous. Sit back and rake in the dough. Genius!

If you have a problem with Jose Vidro being in the lineup, then you're the type of fan that this FO is trying to eliminate.

The Jose Vidro Society:
Bobby Ayala
Bill Bavasi
Jeff Cirillo
Carl Everett
Matt Lawton
Kevin Mitchell
Miguel Olivo
Horacio Ramirez
Heathcliffe Slocumb
Scott Spezio
Richie Sexson
Jeff Weaver
Rick White

Posted by bikeman

6:13 PM, Aug 02, 2008

I expect Felix to be among the finalists in the Cy Young voting for the next two years depending on how well he begins the season. Lee and Duchscherer are pitching over their heads.

I hope he throws a no-hitter within that time.

Posted by M Dogg

6:18 PM, Aug 02, 2008

OkK,Cy Young within 2 years. How long before he is playing for the Yankees or Red Sox? I hope I'm wrong on this one.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

6:23 PM, Aug 02, 2008

There's an old joke, goes something like this:

A bunch of comedians, long-time friends, are hanging out with one another. They've known each other so long, and know each other's jokes so well, they don't even bother telling them in full anymore; they just have them in a list, and call out the number.

"56!", says one of them, as his buddies bust out laughing.
"43...", says another, just as they're calming down, getting them into hysterics again.
One of the youngest members of their clique waits until they settle down, then says slyly, "3!".
Crickets.
Another one in the group says, "3." Everyone dies laughing... except the young guy.
"What? Why was it funny then and not now?"
"Son, it's all in how you tell the joke."

...

Perhaps we should take our common grievances from this season, and put them in a list, so that rather than typing the same thing every day, we can just call out a number. :)

0. Fire Armstrong and Lincoln!
1. Never should have traded Adam Jones and George Sherill for Bedard.
2. What is Vidro doing here?
3. What is Cairo doing here?
4. What is Batista doing here?
5. Why is Raul in left and not DH?
6. Every day they don't bring up Balentien / RRS / AAA guys, they're wasting time.
7. Why can't stop swinging at the first pitch?
8. Ichiro is selfish!

...and so on.

For my part, today: 2. 3. 6.

Posted by headliner

6:32 PM, Aug 02, 2008

As to #6. As long as they play the same old veterans and they fail, its the players fault, that's all they have to work with. If however, they start bringing in new faces, and they fail, it reflects on management. Lee and Riggleman wouldn't want that on their resume for next years chance to keep their jobs.

Posted by Ragarm

6:57 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Chris, put me down for #'s 1-6.

Posted by Top pick in 09 draft

7:09 PM, Aug 02, 2008

If fans really want to see dramatic changes made this off-season (firing of Armstrong & Lincoln esp. and hiring a real baseball GM rather than a numbers cruncher), we should quit complaining about the M's continuing to throw worthless players out there every day (Vidro & Johjima esp.) - we've seen how LaHair has responded so far and if we were to have youg guys like Rob Johnson & Wlad come up and also play well, the M's would start winning more games and thereby lose out on the Strasburg derby. If the team comes in last and loses +100 games, there can be no sugarcoating that dramatic changes need to be made starting at the tip-top. Sometimes, you need to hit rock bottom before progress upwards can be made.

Posted by Dave again?

7:39 PM, Aug 02, 2008

I've seen a lot of the recent blogposts regarding the Jose Guillen Society or the Jose Vidro Society. I suppose it pretty much goes without saying that the Richie Sexson society has pretty much disbanded...

Posted by scottM

8:30 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Private communique to fellow members of THE JOSÉ GUILLEN SOCIETY:


I can't be certain it's the same guy, but at

http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/

a blogger named Bongo has helped further our cause, by seconding the suggestion of Silva for Guillen!!!

If this Bongo is indeed the same, he/she may have a shot at membership in our esteemed Society.

Good job, Bongo, whoever you are.

THE JOSÉ GUILLEN SOCIETY


Posted by bongo

8:49 PM, Aug 02, 2008

psssst! bongo is on board. Bring home Guillen!!!!!

Posted by Guillenforcer

9:15 PM, Aug 02, 2008

My Complaints tonight are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8.

Also #11 - JOSE GUILLEN is not a MARINER (his uni #).

Sergant at Arms
the esteemed
JOSE GUILLEN SOCIETY

Posted by Anything Can Happen

9:18 PM, Aug 02, 2008

- Nelson (6:06): stop getting on Vidro? How about "stop getting on Willie" (and "please, no jokes," to quote Geoff). Coming into tonight's game Willie's OBP is .388. Yes his slugging % is only 6 pts higher than in BA (.294 and .288). Yuni's OBP is a horrible .267. And with Willie's base-stealing success (yes, he got picked off last night), those singles and walks can turn into a runner on second in a hurry. And no, I am absolutely no relation to Novice. I think Willie is a fine utility guy who deserves to be playing right now--and perhaps until the M's figure out what to do with Yuni.

- M's fan (5:35): Yes, the M's have a glut of young catching talent in Moore, Johnson, and Clement, but I think these young guys might have more to learn from Burke--despite his comparative lack of experience--than Kenji. And where else can you find a back-up catcher whose career numbers are .307 / .362 / .389? And who can throw 87MPH with a decent curve in a pinch? Yes, Johnson and Clement should be getting more PT with Burke as backup and mentor. With that in mind, I would suggest this addition to the number list:

9. Can we PLEASE find some way to get rid of Kenji?

Posted by Martin

10:49 PM, Aug 02, 2008

Any takers on the Mariners getting swept this homestand. I have a great feeling about it. They sure have made the Baltimore starters look really good. My brother in law had free tickets to tonights game and I reluctantly went with him.

My complaints for tonights game in this order: 0,7,2,1,4,3,11,5,6,8.

Add to the list of complaints Carlos Silva's $12 mil a year #9. A lot of expensive material was wasted making his uniform, we're talking alot of material. I think he has gained about 30 pounds since he first donned the teal and blue. What a waist

Posted by Thoan

8:08 AM, Aug 03, 2008

Sexson to date with the Yankees:

BA = .312, SLG=.312, OBP=.429. Far better than LaHair. Also a product of platooning (and perhaps a change of scenery), and certainly unsustainable. Would that we had seen an OPS of .741 from this shadow of a power hitter.

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