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*** Well, the sort-of opening day lineup has been adjusted. Seth Smith was scratched with a sore and swollen ankle. Rickie Weeks will hit second and DH, while Nelson Cruz will play right field. The ankle issue isn’t thought to be serious. This was precautionary move made by the Mariners.

Also right-hander Kevin Correia has opted out of his minor league contract and has been released.

From earlier

When manager Lloyd McClendon fills out his lineup card on the morning of April 6, it should look pretty much like the lineup we see above with the only difference being Felix Hernandez making the start instead of Taijuan Walker. I think we’ve said this a few times before, specifically in Walker’s last start.

But today McClendon confirmed it — sort of.

“It could be,” he said. “I’m not sure.”

If you face a right-hander?

“If we face a right-hander? Then, yeah, it most likely will be my opening day lineup,” McClendon said.

Well, the Angels have announced that right-hander Jered Weaver will be the opening day starter. So barring injury, we know what to expect.

While the roster isn’t finalized, McClendon knows what it will be going forward and he is pleased.

“I think we are further ahead in the game this year than we were last year,” he said. “I’m happy with where we are. I’m happy with the way the guys are progressing. From both a physical and mental standpoint. I think we are way ahead of the game. ”

Looking at the lineup and projected roster, McClendon is optimistic.

“We’re a better club than we were last year, on paper we are,” he said. “Now we have to go out and play. Obviously, our bench is stronger. Our rotation is deeper. Our depth is better from a pitching standpoint and a position player standpoint. So this organization is better than last year.”

*** Asked about a Logan Morrison and a few tough at-bats of late, McClendon discussed spring training stats and results instead.

“I’m not going to stress over spring training games,” he said. “Some days it looks good. Other days it looks bad. It’s spring training. When it starts counting, then I will worry. I’m not worried now.”

What McClendon does expect to see in this final week is players to start approaching it like regular season games.

“I want to see major league form as far as preparation and effort, but the results don’t matter,” he said. “They don’t count. What was our record last year? I have no idea. What was our record the year before? It doesn’t count. What was our record during the season last year? You could tell me that. That counts. Spring training doesn’t count. I know people get excited about spring training and I get it and I understand. But we’re trying to get our work in, trying to get prepared and I think we are doing that.”

*** Nelson Cruz will play in the field some during the season. McClendon won’t say how much. But a guess would be maybe twice a week.

“I think it’s important to be able to rotate that position because it keeps a lot of guys fresh,” he said. “Also from a health standpoint, we can get guys off their feet. And the fact is, Nelson is not a slouch in the outfield. He can play the outfield. He’s not a gold glover by any means, but he’s not a slouch either. That helps quite a bit.”

Cruz has a reputation of not being a great defensive player.

“He’s not going to into the gap and make the diving catches, but he’ll catch the balls he’s supposed to catch,” McClendon said.

*** Rickie Weeks continues to work out at first base before games. McClendon said he will likely play Weeks a few innings at first base in this final week to get him some game reps.

“His work has been going very well,” McClendon said. “I almost pulled the trigger today but we are just going to wait and see.”

McClendon still can’t believe how few fly balls have been hit to Weeks in left field this spring. It’s not ideal for a player converting to that position.

“It’s the damnedest think I’ver ever seen,” he said. “This is week six and I’m still waiting for him to catch a fly ball. It’s driving me nuts. He goes through the work and gets all of his work down with Andy (VanSlyke) and then he goes out there and just stands there.”

*** Brad Miller is back in the lineup and feeling better. He missed three days as he recovered from stomach bug that left him vomiting and miserable. Miller said he ate his first full meal this morning. He’d been unable to keep any solid food down for the past three days.

Miller said the bug hit him in the middle of the night and he spent the rest of the night throwing up. It was so bad that his roommate, Dominic Leone, came in to check on him. Miller took three IVs the next day because he was so dehydrated.

*** Chris Taylor took ground ball, played catch and took 30 swings in the swimming pool yesterday. He’s scheduled to hit off the tee today. Taylor said he’s feeling better and better. There’s been no pain in the wrist or hand area.

“I didn’t feel any pain,” Taylor said.

Any discomfort hasn’t been in the wrist but in the top of the hand.

“The break was in here,” he said pointing to the top of his hand. “The ball hit me in the wrist, but I think the vibration of it made it break.”

Taylor is just happy to be working out.

“It actually feels really good,” he said. “I’m more excited than anything.”

He’s even throwing at maximum effort.

“It takes me about 10 to 15 throws to get it loose,” he said. “But the more I throw, the better it feels.”

Even after the workout yesterday, there were no issues.

“It feels great,” he said. “At the end day it felt a little tired, but nothing too noticeable.”

How long would it take for him to get back in a rhythm and ready to play?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I know last year I guess I had similar thing with the pinky. Baseball is weird like that. My first game back I felt great and I had couple of hits with a double, but then I went into a cold stretch for the next couple of weeks. You just never know how you are going to feel when you first come back. Sometimes missing some time it can almost be good for you to clear your mind. Sometimes it takes a little while.”

Taylor said he’s found things to do to “fill the boredom” of not participating in workouts.

“It’s frustrating,” he said. “You try to take advantage of the free time. I’ve been in the gym a lot trying to get some extra core work in. I’ve been doing lot of leg stuff too. I’m just really trying to make sure nothing else throws me down. I had the setback with my wrist. But I want to make sure I keep my legs in good shape and everything else is strong.”

 

*** Reserves for today’s game