After they acquired him in trade for Mike Morse, the Seattle Mariners let outfielder Ryan Langerhans acclimate to a new team before putting him into a game.
So tonight, against lefty C.C. Sabathia, guess who's in left field?
Not Wladimir Balentien, a right-handed hitter, but the left-handed hitting Langerhans. Maybe it was their history: Balentien had never faced Sabathia, Langerhans had - and walked in his only plate appearance.
"We've been waiting for consistency from Balentien, but he'll have one good game, one bad game," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "We need to see production from him against left-handed pitchers, and I haven't seen it.
"Langerhan's numbers aren't much different against lefties and righties, he'll give you good defense and I wanted to get him some at-bats. So he's in there."
It's Jason Vargas vs. Sabathia, and to make a little more one-sided, Vargas has battled 'flu-like' symptoms all day.
It only looks like the Yankees are licking their chops.
Hey ... a lead!
Ichiro doubled, stole third base and scored when Jose Lopez grounded out - producing the first Mariners lead in this three-game series.
In the first: Mariners 1, Yankees 0
Hey ... a bigger lead!
Franklin Gutierrez led off the second inning with a home run, his eighth of the season. Gutierrez has four of those homers in his last 11 games.
Kenji Johjima followed the home run with a single, and in his first at-bat as a Mariner, Ryan Langerhans singled to right field, getting Joh to third base.
Chris Woodward hit a sacrifice fly to get Johjima home.
Langerhans was caught stealing for the third out, though the umpire was waving 'safe' until Langerhans slid on by the second base bag and was tagged again.
In the second: Mariners , Yankees 0
Hey ... a smaller lead
Yanks used a walk, a doule and a sacrifice fly to push home one - and Vargas looks like a man with flu-like conditions.
When he's had to run to back up a base, he looks gassed.
Hideki Matsui flied to right field, where Ichiro dropped the ball for an error as a second run scored.
Ichiro caught a fly ball for the third out, started to throw it into the crowd and then gloved it and ran off.
Yankees fans booed him all the way to the dugout.
After two: Mariners 3, Yankees 2
Working the horse
Sabathia is a beast, a man who gobbles up innings, but the Mariners are making him labor every inning.
They're taking pitches, working the count, making Sabathia throw often on a muggy night.
In the fourth, Gutierrez and Johjima singled and Langerhans was robbed of extra bases by center fielder Melky Cabera, who made a fine running catch.
Gutierrez took third on that play, then scored on Woodward's single - Woodward's second RBI of the night and season.
Ichiro worked the count to 2-2, then doubled over Cabrera's head for two more runs. The Yankee bullpen is up before the Mariners bullpen - hard to believe, given all the circumstances.
Sabathia has thrown 81 pitches.In the fourth: Mariners 6, Yankees 2
New York struck back in typical Yankee fashion - using the home run.
Robinson Cano singled, but with two outs Vargas was a pitch away from closing out the fourth inning.
His first offering to Matsui became the DH's 11th home run, a drive well over the wall in right field.
After four: Mariners 6, Yankees 4
Goodnight Mr. Vargas, hello Mr. Batista
Whatever bug nibbled at Vargas all day denied him the chance to win this game. Out after four innings, he gave what he had and now will drink lots of water and watch the results.
Batista came in and worked a 1-2-3 fifth inning.
It's up to the bullpens
Seattle chased Sabathia, loading the bases with two outs in the sixth inning.
Yankee right-hander Alfredo Aceves came in to face Lopez and struck him out.
In the sixth: Mariners 6, Yankees 4
Stalking a win
Batista went two scoreless innings, Mark Lowe worked around a leadoff double in the sevenh inning and Seattle is still up two.
They may wish they'd delivered in that bases loaded sitiuation, though. The Yankees have the heart or the order coming up in the eighth, and the man who usually handles that inning - Sean White - was hit hard two nights ago.
Hold on. Should be a fun finish.
And in the ninth
Don Wakamatsu chose to stay with Lowe for the eighth inning and got a 1-2-3 inning from the right-hander.
Then the Yankees blinked.
Ichiro was safe on a Mark Teixeira error - his first in 107 games - and Russell Branyan followed up three strike outs and a walk with his 20th home run of the season.
That gave Seattle a four-run lead and erased the save opportunity, but since David Aardsma was already working in the bullpen and hasn't pitched in this series, he'll work the bottom of the ninth inning.
In the ninth: Mariners 8, Yankees 4
That does it
Aardsma closed it out and the Mariners are now 3-3 on this trip, 40-38 for the season.
'Dis them all you want, scream agbout their offense, but they are a scrappy bunch.
Batista got the win, Gutierrez and Branyan hit the home runs and Langerhans went 2-for-4 - probably vaulting him ahead of Balentien on the new outfield depth chart.
It's a final: Mariners 8, Yankees 4