A different look in today’s lineup for early start

Mariners manager Eric Wedge juggled his lineup a bit for Thursday’s series finale against the Rangers, giving rookie Alex Liddi his first start at third base and Casper Wells his initial shot in left field.

The two right-handed hitters replaced lefties Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders, as the two were given a day off against Texas southpaw Derek Holland.

“I planned on doing that from the start of the season against the left-hander,” said Wedge. “You’ve got to play your guys. We’ve got to get them in there, so this has been the plan all along and I’m looking forward to watching them play. Holland has given us fits here in a short period of time he’s been up. Hopefully these guys will help us win a ballgame today.”

Holland is 3-0 with 5-1 with a 3.17 ERA in 10 games (six starts) against the Mariners, including 3-0 with a 2.77 ERA in four starts last year.

The question of the day from many seems to be why John Jaso isn’t back in the lineup today after going 2-for-4 with a triple and the go-ahead single in Wednesday’s 4-3 comeback win. But you have to remember the lefty-righty matchups. Jaso is a career .188 hitter against southpaws, .256 against righties.

When Jaso gets his chances this year, they aren’t going to come against tough left handers.

Ackley and Saunders are facing some “normal leg soreness” from getting back into the grind of playing every day, Wedge said, so they can use the day to rest before Seattle opens its home season Friday against the A’s.

Here’s today’s full lineup for the 11:05 a.m. start PT. This is Figgins’ first start in center field since 2006:

9  Chone Figgins (S)      CF
16  Alex Liddi             3B
51  Ichiro Suzuki (L)      RF
17  Justin Smoak (S)       1B
63  Jesus Montero          DH
15  Kyle Seager (L)        2B
30  Miguel Olivo           C
33  Casper Wells           LF
26  Brendan Ryan           SS
38  Jason Vargas           LHP

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