Wedge going with starters in exhibition vs. Hanshin

It’s 10 a.m. on Sunday morning in Tokyo at this moment and the Mariners are on the field stretching and getting ready for today’s 12:04 p.m exhibition game against the Hanshin Tigers.

This one might not count for the Mariners, but it’s big here in Tokyo and there are hundreds of Japanese journalists lined up on the side of the field taking in every warmup toss and stretch.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge is pointing toward Wednesday night’s Opening Day game against the A’s, but he’s not overlooking today’s game. Seattle will start what appears to be its opening day lineup, except with right-hander Hector Noesi on the mound.

Asked at a quick press conference this morning what he expects from the two Japanese teams — the Mariners will face the Yomiuri Giants on Monday evening here in Tokyo — Wedge said:

“I’m just looking to our team to go out and compete. I don’t know much abou these two Japanese teams, but I’m excited to see their brand of baseball and for our players to compete against them. Opening our season against Oakland is our priority because that is the regular season and that counts. But for exhibition games, there can’t be any more exciting games than here against these Japanese teams and we’re excited to do it.”

Here is the Mariners lineup for today’s game, which starts at 8:04 p.m. Saturday in Seattle and will be broadcast on 710 ESPN radio.

Chone Figgins 3B
Dustin Ackley 2B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Justin Smoak 1B
Jesus Montero DH
Mike Carp LF
Miguel Olivo C
Michael Saunders CF
Brendan Ryan SS

Hector Noesi RHP

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