The annual charity gamed in Peoria – Mariners vs. Padres – doesn't count in the Cactus League standings, but any game matters to new manager Don Wakamatsu.And not just winning and losing. For the foreseeable future, he won't have anything resembling a regular lineup.
Today, for instance, neither Yuniesky Betancourt (hamstring) nor Jose Lopez (back) are available. Adrian Beltre is still being held back as he rebounds from surgery.
Ichiro and Kenji are in Japan. Ken Griffey Jr. isn't ready to test his legs yet.
So here's the first lineup of the spring:
Endy Chavez, LF
Ronnie Cedeno, SS
Jeff Clement, C
Mike Morse, RF
Russell Branyan, DH
Franklin Gutierrez, CF
Bryan LaHair, 1B
Matt Tuiasosoopo, 3B
Reegie Corona, 2B
Ryan Rowland-Smith, P
The Mariners may not win many games early, but Wakamatsu is trying to establish the new-look offense with anyone and everyone – and that means bunting, running and hit-and-running.
"We're going to run into some outs and people are going to wonder what in the world we're doing," Wakamatsu said. "But I want these guys used to what we may do in situations all year. If we're down a run or two, we're not going to sit on our hands. We're going to manufacture runs.
"We'll do it here. We'll do it during the season."
For the baseball starved among you in the Northwest, the game will be broadcast on KIRO beginning at 12:05 p.m. (PST).