Langerhans to start in center; League will be closer

The Mariners worked out in a beautiful sunny Oakland-Alameda Coliseum this afternoon and the ball was flying out, for what it’s worth. Ichiro put on a batting practice display that was impressive even for him, driving ball after ball well into the seats in center and right field.

But, hey, that’s not the story of the day. The stories on the day before Opening Night are that Ryan Langerhans will start in center field and Brandon League will be the closer when the Mariners take on the A’s at 7:05 p.m. on Friday.

League’s situation was predictable, given there’s not that many options in David Aardsma’s absence. But manager Eric Wedge waited until Thursday to make it official. And even then, League says his understanding is it’s a day-to-day situation and he’ll be ready for anything.

Wedge said it’s not that impermanent, but that he’ll evaluate things going forward. Bottom line, League will be his closer to start the season and he won’t be afraid to use him even in multiple innings, if necessary. But if he does, then obviously that might change how often he’s used in that role … as will how effective he is, of course.

Langerhans earned the starting center field job for the opener with his excellent spring, Wedge said. Michael Saunders will not be forgotten — Wedge said one of the big challenges of any manager is getting all his guys playing time early in the season — but Langerhans will be the first one out Friday in place of Franklin Gutierrez, who will miss at least the first week while on the disabled list.

I’ll have more on all of this, plus Jack Cust’s thoughts on playing his former A’s teammates and some Ichiro insights as well on the website shortly.

For now, here’s your Opening Day lineup:

Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chone Figgins 3B
Milton Bradley LF
Jack Cust DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Miguel Olivo C
Ryan Langerhans CF
Brendan Ryan SS
Jack Wilson 2B
Felix Hernandez P

1 Comment

Greg, I don’t even want to talk about this on your blog; but tell us about Milton Bradley. We are hoping he is clear of the mess in Los Angeles and free to play ball with an uncluttered mind. You are doing fine work, sir.

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