The sunny day has grown overcast and the Mariners are taking BP, so lets get to it.
A few notes ...
* Chris Jakubauskas will be on a pitch count of around 70 to 80 pitches. But as I've come to realize with ultra-prepared Wakamatsu, having Jakubauskas start isn't something he was forced to do out of inconvenience.
"He was a guy that we planned and put this bullpen together so if something like this happened, he'd be the go to guy because he pitched so well in spring training," Manager Don Wakamatsu said.
* Jarrod Washburn is not here today. He was suffering from the flu yesterday and today and Wak told him to stay home.
* The lineup has a different look with Franklin Gutierrez, Junior and all getting the day off. Lots of righthanders as the M's face lefty Joe Saunders
Here's the lineup
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jose Lopez 2B
Russell Branyan 1B
Wlad Balentien LF
Rob Johnson C
Yuni Betancourt SS
Chris Jakubauskas RHP
Chone Figgins 3B
Howie Kendrick LF
Bobby Abreu RF (I left him out as Snydro pointed out)
Torii Hunter CF
Kendry Morales 1B
Mike Napoli C
Gary Matthews RF
Juan Rivera DH
Maicer Izturis SS
Joe Saunders (1-1, 2.63)
"We're just getting Gutierrez a day off just because he's been going so hard and just making sure that guys are playing, getting Balentien in there and Sweeney against Saunders," Wakamatsu said.
Wlad Balentien said his sore left elbow if perfectly fine now.
* Kenji Johjima could be out as much as three weeks. It's a grade 1 sprain which is the mildest of the 1-3 grading scale.
"I felt discomfort the inning before that at-bat when I was covering first base and I felt it again when I was ruining to first base," Johjima said through translator Antony Suzuki. "I felt like a pinch down on my hamstring. I've never felt anything like that in the past in my career."
Joh was in relatively good spirits despite the news, joking with media a few times.
"We have to alternate," he said when asked about Ichiro then him going on the DL. "We have Japanese media here so if we go on the DL together at the same time, we'll lose all the media, so I don't want to start that."
"They say that a lot of the fast runners get this type of injury and I've never been a fast runner so I don't know why I'm getting this. I guess it's part of the game."
When asked about Ichiro, Daisuke Matsuzaka and now him -- all members of the Japanese WBC team going on the DL, he responded: "Yes, it's a coincidence. Unfortunately, it's a coincidence."
Then he was asked about other Japanese professional players in Japan being hurt. He said there were a few, but "also a coincidence." I asked a few Japanese reporters and they said there were three guys on the DL.
Wakamatsu wanted no part of that conversation when asked.
* Jamie Burke was in good spirits being back in the clubhouse.
Wakamatsu said Rob Johnson will be the starter and Burke the back-up.
"I've known Jamie from three different organizations and I trust his ability to call a game and his relationship with the pitching staff," Wakamatsu said. "He's a good fit to bring up. He was in competition all spring to make the club and it's nice to bring up somebody who I know personally and trust."
I asked him if Jeff Clement's low numbers and hitting struggles had anything to do with it.
"It's just the timing of everything," Wakamatsu said. "We talked about Jeff going down and getting some at-bats and catching a little bit more. With Kenji, we're looking at a couple of weeks here and Jamie is the perfect guy to bring up."
Still, if Clement was hitting .370 with a few homers and extra base hits, their decision might be different.
* As I said about Wak and his obsessive nature to be prepared, he mentioned that one of the reasons they kept Johnson and not Burke or Clement was precisely for this reason.
"One of our biggest decisions coming out of spring training was the fact that if that happened, we would feel comfortable with Rob filling in," Wakamatsu said. "So far, he's done a tremendous job both offensively and defensively. He's done a great job and that's what earned him a spot on the team."
"His toughness and his ability to handle a pitching staff early. Those are things we demanded from all the catchers in camp and he stood out right away. This is something that he was not going to let pass by. He earned the spot and had a great relationship with the pitchers and also swung the bat well."
* The decision to bring up Sean White was based largely on what he did in spring training.
"Being able to see what he did in spring training," Wakamatsu said. "Hopefully what we're talking about is a short stint until Rowland-Smith is able to get back. For us, he's the right guy to fill that spot in the bullpen."