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News » Seattle Mariners Roster Report 2009-04-06


Seattle Mariners Roster Report 2009-04-06


Seattle Mariners Roster Report 2009-04-06
The Mariners were hurt -- or helped, depending on your point of view -- by the World Baseball Classic this spring, with 11 players off at the WBC. Only in the last week have the pieces begun to come together so that new manager Don Wakamatsu and new GM Jack Zduriencik can assess what they have. Overall, the starting pitching looks good, the bullpen looks weak and the offense and defense seem improved. But all the pieces haven't been together long enough to make a rational call.

ROTATION:

1. RHP Felix Hernandez

2. LHP Erik Bedard

3. RHP Carlos Silva

4. LHP Jarrod Washburn

5. LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith

ROTATION ANALYSIS: The depth of the rotation is good for a change, although most of the faces are the same. Hernandez is solid and getting better yearly. Bedard is recovered from shoulder surgery and throwing hard again. RHP Brandon Morrow can throw harder than either, but he's never been a full-time starter as a pro, so he's going to have to prove himself once he gets over being injured this spring (right forearm). He'll start the season in the bullpen.

Silva came to camp having lost 35 pounds and threw well in the World Baseball Classic until taking the loss for Team Venezuela in his final WBC start. Washburn, like Silva coming off a horrible year, has not had a winning record as a Mariner.

With Morrow not ready, LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith will open the season in the rotation, and he has a chance to displace either Silva or Washburn if those two veterans don't get off to quick starts.

LHP Garrett Olson, a starter last year in Baltimore, has promise and is waiting in the wings at Class AAA Tacoma should the Mariners need to add a starter, but he's had a rotten spring.

BULLPEN:

RHP Miguel Batista (no set closer)

RHP Roy Corcoran

RHP Brandon Morrow

RHP Mark Lowe

RHP Chris Jakubauskas

RHP David Aardsma

LHP Shawn Kelley

BULLPEN ANALYSIS: The Mariners headed toward the start of the season with no pitcher having stepped up to take the closer's job. Batista, Corcoran and Lowe were given the best crack at it, but all struggled in spring training.

RHP Randy Messenger got off to a fast start but ultimately got sent down, which leaves Aardsma (a 2.45 ERA) as the most productive of the short relievers, although it's not clear that he'll win the closer's job.

Morrow closed last year and could do it again while he tries to get back his strength and return to the rotation.

Manager Don Wakamatsu said he doesn't like the idea of a bullpen by committee, but he might be forced to live with one until May, when newly signed RHP Chad Cordero, the former closer for the Washington Nationals, is due to come off the disabled list.

LHP Tyler Johnson could be the situational lefty in time, but he is recovering from shoulder surgery and he will start the season in the minors.

LINEUP:

1. RF Endy Chavez

2. 2B Jose Lopez

3. LF Ken Griffey Jr.

4. 3B Adrian Beltre

5. 1B Russell Branyan

6. DH Mike Sweeney

7. C Kenji Johjima

8. SS Yuniesky Betancourt

9. CF Franklin Gutierrez

LINEUP ANALYSIS: This being his first year, it's not clear if manager Don Wakamatsu is someone who likes to go with a set lineup or if he likes to tinker. But the fact is, he's going to have to tinker with this lineup.

Much will depend on the legs of Griffey. The idea is to have him play most of the time in left field and use him as the DH when needed. That means Sweeney would have to come out of the lineup when Griffey is the DH, but Sweeney also could play some first base in place of Branyan, depending on matchups.

Betancourt has hit a ton this spring (at least one hit in each of his first dozen starts), but he's got to show that he's the defensive player he was a couple of years ago and not the error-prone Betancourt of 2009.

CF Ichiro Suzuki will miss the first two weeks due to a bleeding ulcer.

Lopez has hit behind Ichiro frequently the last couple of years, and while he has success there, look for him to be moved more into the middle of the lineup if he hits like he did a year ago.

Johjima had a great WBC in helping Japan win the title, and the Mariners need to see that Johjima and not the one who struggled to keep his head above .200 last year.

RESERVES:

C Rob Johnson

INF Ronny Cedeno

OF Wladimir Balentien

INF Matt Tuiasosopo

RESERVES ANALYSIS: Johnson earned the job when Jeff Clement struggled this spring. Cedeno, who was with the Cubs last year, has impressed with his defense and could see plenty of playing time, particularly late in games. Balentien has power and could force his way into the lineup if he hits like he has this spring (a .400 on-base percentage and .644 slugging percentage).

ROOKIE WATCH: RHP Shawn Kelley moved from low Class A to Double-A last year and showed the Mariners plenty this spring, including getting a couple of saves. RHP Chris Jakubauskas, who was an outfielder in college and made the move to pitching while playing independent ball, was as effective as any pitcher in the Seattle camp this spring. 3B Matt Tuiasosopo hit .404 with extra-base power and figures to be up for good sometime during the season. OF Mike Wilson hit five homers during the spring, and his power has not gone unnoticed.

MEDICAL WATCH:

LHP Tyler Johnson (shoulder surgery) has been slow to recover. He's been throwing, but not in Cactus League games, at least not yet. As a result, he will start the season in the minors as he rebuilds his strength.

RHP Chad Cordero (torn labrum) signed with the team during the spring, but he won't start the season on the roster because he's not ready. He could be ready by May, however, and then would be a competitor for the closer's job.

RF Ichiro Suzuki (bleeding ulcer, excessive fatigue) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 31. He is expected to miss just the minimum 15 days.

LHP Cesar Jimenez (biceps tendinitis) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 29.

LHP Ryan Feierabend (Tommy John elbow surgery in March 2009) went on the 60-day disabled list March 16.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 6, 2009

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