Kawasaki gets third straight start, replacing Ryan tonight

Manager Eric Wedge is giving utility infielder Munenori Kawasaki his third straight start tonight, this time putting him at shortstop in place of Brendan Ryan as the Mariners face the Rangers for Game 2 of their four-game series in Arlington.

Kawasaki started in place of Ryan on Saturday when Ryan had a stiff neck, then filled in at second on Monday when Jesus Montero had a bad stomach and Dustin Ackley moved to DH.

Ryan didn’t have his best game Monday, his errant relay throw to first on a double play ball in the first inning costing the Mariners two runs and some early momentum. Ryan also didn’t have a great night at the plate. Not sure if that’s why Kawasaki is in the lineup, but we’ll find out more when Eric Wedge meets the media before the game.

Kawasaki is 2-for-7 (.286) with two RBIs and one run in his two games after batting.455 and leading all MLB hitters this spring.

The Mariners will need all the offense they can find, with former Rangers closer Neftali Feliz on the mound. The Mariners are 0-for-48 against Felix with four walks and 21 strikeouts in his career as a reliever. We’ll see how they fare against him in his first start.

Blake Beavan is on the hill tonight for Seattle, his first start of the season and a tough one, coming off a long layoff at the end of spring due to the Japan trip and now facing the Rangers in Arlington. Beavan grew up in Irving, Texas, about 10 minutes from the ballpark, and is eager to face his hometown team. So should be an interesting one.

The Mariners need a good start in the wake of Hector Noesi’s rough go last night. The Rangers are going with the same lineup as Monday, with good reason, after an 11-5 victory that included four home runs.

Here’s Seattle’s full lineup:

9  Chone Figgins (S)      LF
13  Dustin Ackley (L)      2B
51  Ichiro Suzuki (L)      RF
17  Justin Smoak (S)       1B
15  Kyle Seager (L)        3B
63  Jesus Montero          DH
55  Michael Saunders (L)   CF
30  Miguel Olivo           C
61  Munenori Kawasaki (L)  SS
49  Blake Beavan           RHP

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