Sneak peek at Opening Day lineup

AngelsLineIf you’re curious about Seattle’s likely Opening Day lineup, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon acknowledged Monday’s starting nine against the Angels in Cactus League play at Peoria Stadium will likely mirror what he goes with in a week when the same two teams square off at Safeco Field to kick off the regular season.

“If we face a right-hander, yeah, that most likely would be my Opening Day lineup,” said McClendon, who has previously been reluctant to pin down an exact batting order.

With the Angels planning to start right-hander Jered Weaver on April 6, that means McClendon will trot out his left-leaning group with Seth Smith in right field and Dustin Ackley in left. Against southpaws, right-handed hitting Justin Ruggiano and Rickie Weeks will expect to see more time in those spots.

In other Monday news:

— Miller was back in action after missing four days with a nasty stomach flu. The 25-year-old shortstop said he couldn’t keep any food down until Monday morning and lost some weight, but was glad the illness hit when it did and not a week later.

“I’m back and ready to go,” he said. “It sucked. But better now and get a week to get back to full strength. I’m excited to get back out there.”

— McClendon said Weeks likely will play a game at first base before the end of camp after practicing more there more in recent days as he continues expanding his utility role. “His work has been going very well. I almost pulled the trigger today, but we just want to wait and see.”

— Weeks’ transition to left field – after playing second base his entire pro career – has been slowed somewhat by the fact no one every seems to hit fly balls his direction when he’s been in the outfield during Cactus League games.

“Darndest thing I’ve ever seen,” McClendon said before Monday’s game. “This is week six and I’m still waiting for him to catch a fly ball. Are you kidding me? It’s driving me nuts. He goes through the work and gets all his work done with [outfield coach Andy Van Slyke], then he gets out there and, no fly balls. Ackley’s out there, there’s a ton of fly balls. We’ll see. Maybe today is the day.”

— There is a small memorial to Victor Sanchez, the Mariners pitching prospect who died Saturday in Venezula, outside the team’s Peoria office this morning. Sanchez was a popular player in Seattle’s Minor League clubhouse and I wrote this story last night about outfielder Jabari Henry dedicating his special day to his former teammate.

Here is the memorial:


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