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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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December 3, 2008 11:29 AM

Branyan expects to play a lot

Posted by Geoff Baker

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We're still on the phone with newest Mariners acquisition Russell Branyan, who admitted that his hitting numbers tend to be better when he actually gets playing time. That hasn't always been the case.

"I think, in the past, people have been scared of the swings and misses,'' Branyan said. "I think they've been scared of the strikeouts.''

And Branyan understands that. He says that prolonged stints on the bench tend to hurt his swing. His better numbers last year, he said, came because he began the year playing every day in Class AAA.

"In my case, it's always been the situation,'' he said. "The more I get to play, the at-bats get better.''

Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik said he's prepared to "give Russell as many at-bats as he's had in his career.''

Branyan will get a shot at the everyday first base job.

"It looks that way,'' Zduriencik said. "I know what Russell can do.''

Branyan is a lefty hitter, but has no qualms with facing southpaws.

"I enjoy facing lefty pitchers,'' he added. "If I had it my way. I'd play every day.''

The added exposure to lefties, he added, helps him keep his swing from getting too long.

And make no mistake, Zduriencik sounds very much like a man who has found his opening day first baseman.

"This is one of the bigger raw power bats out there -- period,'' he said.

Photo credit: Lenny Ignelzi/AP

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