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Mariners notebook: A new skipper for Tacoma

By Shannon Drayer

PEORIA, Ariz. – The Rainiers have a new manager.

The Mariners have announced Roy Howell will replace Rich Donnelly as the new skipper for Seattle's Triple-A affiliate. Howell – who spent parts of 11 seasons in the major leagues with Texas, Milwaukee and Toronto – spent last season as the hitting coach at Double-A Jackson.

Lineup!

Abraham Almonte, 8
Kyle Seager, 5
Robinson Cano, 4
Justin Smoak, 3
Logan Morrison, DH
Dustin Ackley, 7
Michael Saunders, 9
Mike Zunino, 2
Brady Miller, 6

Randy Wolf

Lineup notes: A lot of left in this lineup, which works out great if you are facing a right-handed starter. Things could get a little dicey when you get into the bullpen, however. When asked about this Wednesday afternoon, manager Lloyd McClendon said that of course he would like to have a balanced lineup but not having it is not as dangerous as it used to be.

"The old adage was get to the middle relief and you win the game. Well, middle relief now is throwing 97 mph. It's not like the old days. If you stack them up and get four or five runs off the starter I will take my chances. Whether it is a left or right, for me it's a factor, but not a major factor. I want to try to win the first seven innings of the game and then I will take my chances with the last three."

Corey Hart is out of the lineup once again after being scratched from Tuesday's lineup with tenderness in his forearm, most likely brought on by throwing. On Wednesday he had a bit of a stiff back. If this was the regular season he probably could have played, but McClendon said he would continue to take it slow with him.

Getting the bullpen a break

On Tuesday we noted that the posted probables for the next six games were Scott Baker, Randy Wolf, Erasmo Ramirez, Felix Hernandez, James Paxton and Baker. What we have posted Wednesday is a little different with Blake Beavan replacing Ramirez. Ramirez will follow Felix on Friday, not because he is going to the bullpen but because the bullpen needs a break after six games in four days. Giving the relievers the day off will also allow a few of them to throw bullpens and get some side work in.

In case you missed it

Earlier posts from Wednesday include the new Mariners commercials and the podcast for Tuesday night's "Cactus League Report".

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