Betancourt back in two-hole

Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt batted second in the lineup for the fourth time this season during today’s series finale against the Athletics, prompting KIRO radio’s Shannon Drayer to ask manager Don Wakamatsu how Yuni has performed batting that high in the lineup.

“I think you see little things,” Wakamatsu said. “He is taking more pitches and his walks are up, to a career high seven. That part of it is fine. But when you ask a guy to be a little more selective, does it change the other side of it?”

Betancourt was 2-for-8 with two walks in his first three games in the two-hole and his on-base percentage (.400) is encouraging, especially when you compare it to the .282 OBP as the ninth-place hitter, which is where he has been most of the season.

He’s not as aggressive batting second and the Mariners are still trying to find a happy medium with the 27-year-old project.

“It’s all part of the education,” Wakamatsu said. “We’ve had struggles in the two-hole all year and have to find some consistency there.”

A little consistency from the 3-4-5 spots also would help. The Mariners are getting way too little production from the middle of the lineup.

Ichiro, who went into today’s game with a 20-game hitting streak, has scored just 16 runs all season, which is a staggering number considering he has been on base so often.

In other news, injured catcher Kenji Johjima (broken left big toe) has returned to Seattle to recupperate.

Wakamatsu said that when the team returns from this road trip, “We will start to do some upper-body exercises with him to try to do everyuthoing we can to keep him in shape.”

Johjima is expected to miss six to eight weeks of the season.

Backup catcher Guillermo Quiroz will start one of the three games in Anaheim.


*Left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith will start for Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday night, throw around 75 to 80 pitches and then rejoin the Mariners and throw a bullpen session, at which time a decision will be made on when he will return to the starting rotation.

The best guess is that it would be during the next road trip.

*Right-handed reliever Roy Corcoran had no ill-affects from his simulated game in Oakland will have another one in Anaheim before being sent out on a rehab assignment.

*Second baseman Jose Lopez, who is in an 0-for-9 skid, was given today off and replaced by Ronny Cedeno.

“Lopey has some leg tighteness,” Wakamatsu said. “He could have played today,but it’s paramount to keep Ronny in the mix.”

— Jim Street


  1. shep1

    Bedard has really pitched well. Russ, how does it feel to bump elbows in the congrats after your HR with Jr. ? You know I helped his dad Sr. with the Dawg Pound program in Tampa and really enjoyed that time with him. You can see the pics in the professional forum at messageboard when you get a chance. I also have a thread there for you that goes way back:-) You know I never quit on ya bro. Keep up the GREAT WORK there in Seattle and tell Keith I said hello. Shep

  2. pradipta

    Do you think it makes sense to bat Branyan at #3/4? Ichiro – given his track record – will possibly continue to have the best shot (among ’09 M’s) to get on base, and he seems to be the only one stealing bases of late. With Branyan hitting for power & average, it should help M’s score a few more runs if Barnyan gets a shot at having an at bat in the same inning as Ichiro. Given that we have 2 starters with sub-3.5 ERA & one just over it, it’s slightly surprising that we are not giving the 2 best hitters (on current form) in the team achance to have at-bats in the same inning (at least to start a game).

  3. seayomama

    I’m not sure why we are still fooling around with Betancourt. After the All Star Break, it would be nice to see the team’s improvement–albeit a modest one–rewarded with a shopping spree for a decent shortstop. If the man hasn’t figured out how to do the job by age 27, he probably isn’t going to.

  4. shep1

    Baseball Weekly’s Top 10 Draft Prospects: June 3-9 Edition

    Jack Z., Shep here. There is a prospect who will play at all levels at#8 on this list that came out today in Baseball Weekly. He is also the player I recommended a few weeks back. The HR Power is there but he led off this year. His job was to get on base, he did (.604 BA). Reginald also had 61 SBs out of 62 attempts. If he swapped places with his 2010 natural switch-hitting 2nd baseman & younger brother in the batting order, J.D. Williams, he would have hit many HRs because he is a TEAM player:-) Draft next week! 🙂 BTW, moving Branyan to the 2-Hole is a fantastic move:-) Best Regards, Shep

  5. shep1
    Above link is video at Draft Central homepage of young Reggie. Notice flash captured in batspeed and correct position of hands. Also, notice the firm front side with powerful center in lower-body and torso. This player has tools seldom seen in the H.S. ranks. He is the “sleeper of the entire 2009 baseball draft”. No player has excited the scouting community as this bonified prospect has in a long while. I stake my scouting career on this one Tom M & Jack Z. Reference: Russell Branyan Best Regards, Shep in Vero Beach formerly of Georgia.

  6. shep1

    Jack Z., Shep here after day two of draft. Great picks by the Mariners, thusfar. Reginald Williams wants to play pro ball and will sign. He is the fastest player in the country according to Baseball America’s predraft Top Tools for a H.S. players and fastest overall player by some stop watches, overall. He switch hits and will hit for power and average through repetition and professional instruction. You can find his cell phone number on the MLSB’s information database and he does have a draft number or contact his dad @ the number listed at Perfect Game’s PG Cross-Checker data base. I don’t want to give number out the number publically here but can direct you to those sources. Day three is a special draft day for Seattle if you will do this sir. God Bless you Jack Z. whatever you do:>) Shep

  7. shep1

    I tried to help you guys out on this one but the 1st place Texas Rangers took Reginald Williams in the 32nd round. For the record, I left several messages in the past month at your scouting number that were not returned:>) Good luck signing all your players and so long. About my belief in Russell Branyan since the early 1990’s when then Indian Scout, Mark Germann followed me to Westfied Academy in GA because he didn’t know how to get there the year Cleveland drafted and signed him and my projections and opinion on Russell’s future. I never gave up on Branyan.

    Most recent banner at the following link:

    And even farther back at the following link:

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