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Good morning from rainy Peoria.

The Mariners had hoped to play an intrasquad game, but that’s looking less and less likely. If they do, here are the starting lineups:

Team 1

  1. James Jones CF
  2. Chris Taylor SS
  3. Jesus Montero 1B
  4. Ji-Man Choi LF
  5. Carlos Rivero 3B
  6. Stefen Romero RF
  7. Ketel Marte 2B
  8. John Hicks C

Team 2 (positions are a guess)

  1. Shawn O’Malley 2B
  2. Brad Miller SS
  3. Jordy Lara OF or 1B
  4. DJ Peterson 3B
  5. Patrick Kivlehan OF or 1B
  6. Julio Morban RF
  7. Austin Cousino CF
  8. Tyler Marlette C

Hisashi Iwakuma, Danny Farquhar and J.A. Happ were scheduled to throw live batting practice today. They will do so likely in the indoor facility with hitters just standing in the box and not swinging.

The bullpen sessions will be unaffected by the rain. Fernando Rodney, Yoervis Medina, Tom Wilhelmsen, Sam Gaviglio, Rafael Perez and Mayckol Guaipe will throw today.

On the news front …

James Paxton will throw from 120 feet today and then get on the mound tomorrow. Manager Lloyd McClendon believes there is enough time to get Paxton up to the 90-100 pitches per outing that each starter usually makes before the season in that last Cactus League start.

On the not-a-platoon front, McClendon confirmed what he had hinted at early in spring training – on days with left-handed starters – Rickie Weeks will usually start in left field, and on days with right-handed starters, Dustin Ackley will start in left field. McClendon said that could change on individual match-ups. That’s why he hates the word “platoon.” He feels it boxes him in to one either/or situation.

Here’s his comment:

“As we speak now, Rickie will play against the lefties and Ackley will play against the righties. Having said that, if there’s a favorable matchup, whether it’s left or right, and the guy hits him real well, you’ve got to put him in there. That’s why I’m not crazy about the word platoon, because it puts you in a box. You want to be a little more dynamic than that with your managing skills. My players know there’s days they may play against a righty or play against a lefty.”

Weeks will also start working at first base and serve as the back-up first baseman over Willie Bloomquist.

The Mariners bench is certainly more viable than last season. McClendon thinks it gives him some options.

“When you manage, one of the things I always did was trying to make moves late in the game, I wanted to know what they had on the bench on the other side,” he said. “That dictates what you do. I’m sure when they looked at our bench, we had a lot of young kids with not a lot of experience. It doesn’t strike a lot of fear  We’re in a position now we have some guys with track records, proven major leaguers and can do some damage. So the guy in the other dugout has to think about the moves they’re going to make. To answer your question, I feel pretty good.

Yes, I still think Bloomquist makes this team to start the season. They are going to want to have the loser of the shortstop battle go down and play every day.

McClendon had this to say about Seth Smith.

“Competing against him, he was always a guy I liked, I was impressed with being on the other side,” McClendon said. “When Jack told me there was an opportunity we might be able to get him, I was excited about it. To get something good, you have to give upsomething good, and we gave up a quality arm to get him.”

Linkage

Here’s my story today on Austin Jackson being the key to the Mariners’ success on offense.  Some people think he’ll never be a contributor, the Mariners think he will bounce back and manager Lloyd McClendon is just asking him to put up his typical numbers of the past, while still being a good defensive center fielder.

What do you think?

I’m kind of somewhere in the middle. I don’t think Jackson is as bad of player we saw last season. His bat looked slow in fastball counts and he admitted to being in-between on pitches. Having McClendon – his former hitting coach – back and watching over him for a full spring training and the season has to help some.

Here’s the notebook that talks about Taijuan Walker’s starting the Cactus League opener and also outlining the upcoming pitching probables.

Larry Stone had a nice column on renaissance man and back-up catcher John Baker. The guy sounds very interesting and, no, I don’t think he or Larry are being discriminatory against coal miners or their profession.

Here’s a story on Patrick Kivlehan from his hometown newspaper

The update from yesterday’s workout from the Mariners’ baseball information blog.

From my buddy Corey Brock, here’s an update on Brandon Maurer, who is pitching well in Padres camp.