Mariners Game Notes: Smith Improving, Bloomquist in Starting Lineup


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First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm tonight at the Coliseum in Oakland. Taijuan Walker will make his first start of the season tonight, and southpaw Drew Pomeranz will get the ball for the Athletics. This evening’s game will be broadcast live on Root Sports Northwest, and subscribers can watch on connected devices.

Seth Smith Nearing Return

Right Fielder Seth Smith has been out of the Mariners’ lineup since he began experiencing tightness in his groin on Tuesday morning. Smith was excellent in his M’s debut on Opening Day, and the fans have been clamouring for his return. Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN reports that Smith is not in the lineup tonight, but he may be available as a bat off the bench.

Bob Dutton of The News Tribune is one of the most respected beat writers in baseball, and he provided Mariners’ fans with an even more optimistic tweet regarding Seth Smith. After discussing Smith with manager Lloyd McClendon, Dutton sent out this piece of information.

Since the Mariners are facing a southpaw this evening, Smith was unlikely to be in the starting lineup regardless of his health. However, it is encouraging to think that the 32-year-old outfielder may be batting second for Seattle on Saturday when they are opposed by right-hander Sonny Gray.

Willie Bloomquist to Make 2015 Debut

Port Orchard, WA’s favorite son will be playing shortstop and batting 9th for the Mariners in the series opener against the A’s. Willie Bloomquist has yet to see the field in 2015, and thus tonight’s action will be his first of the new season. The 37-year-old utility man was very productive for the M’s last season, hitting .278 with 1 home run and 14 RBI’s across 133 at bats.

Bloomquist is in the starting lineup tonight instead of Brad Miller. Bloomquist can play all over the diamond, and he is a valuable asset for McClendon at the end of the bench. Willie always seem to come through with a clutch RBI single, so look for him to drive in a run tonight in a key spot.

M’s skipper Lloyd McClendon and A’s boss Bob Melvin have released the following lineups for tonight’s game.

 Rickie Weeks Get’s Start in LF

Rickie Weeks will play in the outfield for the first time in his 11 year career tonight in the East Bay. That sounds frightening, but he has been working all winter for this chance. Weeks was brought in to platoon with left fielder Dustin Ackley, and tonight he get’s his first opportunity to show what he can do in the outfield.

Weeks was the Mariners’ designated hitter in each of the last 2 games. Many have questioned if Weeks’s transition to the outfield was working, but McClendon assured reporters he planned to give the 32-year-old a chance in left field. Weeks has been unimpressive thus far in a Mariners’ uniform, going 1 for 7, and striking out with the bases loaded in the 8th inning on Wednesday night.

Pick to Click

Nelson Cruz may benefit the most from Weeks being in the outfield. Cruz was signed to be the DH, but on Tuesday and Wednesday he was pressed into action in right field. Cruz is a capable defender, but tonight he will just be able to focus solely on hitting as the club’s DH. I’m hoping for a big night from Cruz, and he is my pick to click this evening for the M’s.

Check back with SoDo Mojo following tonight’s game for a full recap of the Mariners’ victory over the A’s (fingers crossed!)

Next: Seattle Mariners vs. Oakland A’s – 3 Things to Watch

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