Yes, Jose Lopez is healthy enough to return to the Mariners lineup. He left the game against on the July 27 with a strained hamstring. But now the hamstring seems healthy for him to return to his short, choppy, little steps while running. So Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu has him in the lineup. Yes, I'm aware Matt Tuiasosopo had two hits - they were both hard hit balls.
But don't forget, the Mariners could still and probably hope to trade Lopez in a waiver deal - like Mike Sweeney - to another team. So that's why they need to play him is to show that he's healthy and can contribute - albeit moderately.
Speaking of Sweeney - or as I like to call him Capt. Hugs-A-Lot - Wakamatsu was asked about the trade of Mike Sweeney. He didn't seem to be pleased about it.
“It’s a sad story for me because we’ve been together for three years,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “We had a tremendous relationship and I know Mike has had a strong desire to be a playoff situation and I wish him all the best. He done a lot here for the Seattle Mariners in a short period of time and is one of the greatest teammates I’ve ever had the privilege of being around. I respect him dearly.”
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Personally, I think Wakwould have liked to kept Sweeney around, particularly for when the rosters are expanded and guys like Dustin Ackley, Greg Halman and Michael Pineda are called up and Justin Smoak returns to the team.
Sweeney came to Safeco and cleared out his locker and said his goodbyes.
"He came in and said goodbye to everybody," Wakamatsu said. He picked up his stuff and touched as many people in the clubhouse he could went his way. He hugged everybody. Hugged my son. He spread a little love before he left and I wished him the best.”
Obviously, I've joked about Sweeney's huggy-feely attitude and it really bothered me when he used the phrase "take a bullet for" a couple times when Alan Cockrell was fired and the Griffey napgate. But I respect what he's done in this game. And I really respect him for the commitment he made to the Mariners the last two seasons. He was given chances to come to spring training and both years he showed up in phenomenal shape and ready to work - it was a stark contrast to say Lopez, who showed way overweight.
Sweeney knew his chances to make the team were slim and both years, he worked hard and performed and made the team. Did it help he was a good guy and provided a good example? Of course it did.
“The passion," Wakamatsu said of what he loved about Sweeney. "How much he cared about other people rather than himself. He played reckless, regardless of his body. He loved the game and loved the fact that he wanted to give something back. He knew how fortunate he was to have the career he’s had and he genuinely cares about other people and that’s a special trait.”
A few other notes ....
Fans in Everett can watch Shawn Kelley throw two innings on Thursday with the Aqua Sox.
Josh Bard will be limited to emergency duty for the next two games with a sore neck.
"It's getting there," Bard said.
- Elvis Andrus SS
- Michael Young 3B
- Josh Hamilton CF
- Vlad Guerrero DH
- Nelson Cruz RF
- David Murphy LF
- Cristian Guzman 2B
- Bengie Molina C
- Mitch Moreland 1B
LHP CJ Wilson (10-5, 3.11 ERA)
- Ichiro Suzuki RF
- Chone Figgins 2B
- Casey Kotchman 1B
- Franklin Gutierrez CF
- Russell Branyan DH
- Jose Lopez 3B
- Michael Saunders LF
- Adam Moore C
- Jack Wilson SS
RHP Doug Fister (3-7, 3.57 ERA)