Opening lineup is out … and Smoak is hitting cleanup
Manager Eric Wedge posted his first lineup card this morning in the Mariners clubhouse. And the most interesting thing to me is the guy in the No. 4 spot … young Justin Smoak batting cleanup right out of the gate.
It’s clear that Smoak is needed this season to hit in the middle of the lineup, but Wedge has said he’s reluctant to say he’ll throw the 24-year-old in there from the start. He talked specifically about that in this story I wrote previewing today’s opener here on Mariners.com.
Of course, the charity spring game lineup isn’t the same as the regular-season opener, but obviously Wedge wants to see what the big first baseman can do.
He also wants to get a good look at Milton Bradley in the heart of the order. Bradley will DH today and bat third. If Bradley hits well this spring, he’ll earn a spot on this team without question because the Mariners would like to get something out of his $12 million contract and could certainly use his bat as well if he returns to his old form.
Worth noting as well, no Franklin Gutierrez in the lineup today, which puts Michael Saunders in CF.
Game time is 12:05 p.m. PT (1:05 p.m. in Arizona), with Rick Rizzs and Dave Sims calling the action on 710 ESPN Seattle. And while forecasts called for rain and cool temperatures today, the bad weather appeared to blow through last night and as of this morning it’s sunny and blue skies everywhere.
Here’s the full lineup:
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chone Figgins 3B
Milton Bradley DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Adam Kennedy 2B
Miguel Olivo C
Michael Saunders CF
Gabe Gross LF
Jack Wilson SS
Erik Bedard LHP