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Sunday morning lineup and notes; Guti returns

By Shannon Drayer

A rather disappointing lineup today provided by the Texas Rangers. Exactly one regular in the form of Lance Berkman. Felix Hernandez was held out of this game as not to give the Rangers an extra look at him before the start of the season. Turns out he could have pitched this game. Instead he will pitch in a minor league game on Field 3 down here at 1. I will keep you updated on that game on Twitter (@shannondrayer).

The Mariners, on the other hand, are going with something close to what will be their regular lineup. Take a look.

Gutierrez 8
Seager 5
Morales DH
Ibanez 7
Smoak 3
Bay 9
Shoppach 2
Ackley 4
Andino 6


At first look I thought yes, regular lineup minus Jesus Montero and Brendan Ryan. Easy switches. Then I realize Michael Morse is not in it. Get used to the juggling act in the outfield. What will be interesting to see is if Jason Bay does make this team how will Eric Wedge choose to handle the fourth and fifth outfield spots. Assuming that the regulars in the outfield will be Morse, Franklin Gutierrez and Michael Saunders will Raul Ibanez and/or Bay be strictly bench players or will he try to get both or either four to five starts a week to get or keep their bats going?

Good to see Gutierrez finally back in the lineup and Dustin Ackley as deep in the lineup as we have ever seen. I am hoping his play will warrant being higher in the order but it is good to see that Wedge is not opposed to dropping him should that be necessary.

Moving on with some quick notes:

• Today’s game is on both live radio 710 ESPN and television on ROOT Sports.

• In honor of St. Patrick’s Day the Mariners will be wearing green hats. This morning U2, Enya and The Unicorn Song were all played in the clubhouse. I believe Brendan Ryan was responsible for The Unicorn Song.

• I witnessed an interesting sight in the clubhouse today where Kelly Shoppach was doing a bit of the veteran catcher thing. He approached Erasmo Ramirez, who pitched yesterday, and talked to him about his breaking ball. Shoppach wanted Erasmo to visualize the count as 0-2 every time he threw a breaking ball in his next pen.

• After this conversation Erasmo headed to the food room and made himself a huge smoothie. What was in it? Everything, he said laughing as he spooned peanut butter into the blender. As he walked out Felix walked by with a sausage, egg and cheese biscuit from McDonald’s. I asked Ramirez why he didn’t eat one of those instead of the smoothie. “That works too,” he said with a laugh.

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