Aardsma getting closer to closing again

If the Mariners have a save situation in tonight’s series opener against the Rangers, look for Brandon League to get the call.

But the main man, David Aardsma, is getting closer to to resuming his closer role.

Interim manager Daren Brown said Aardsma, sidelined with discomfort in his left oblique, was feeling better today than he had in the previous five days and is supposed to play catch prior to tomorrow night’s game against the Rangers.

If all goes well, he might be able to return to duty.

Switch-hitting first baseman Justin Smoak returned to his old stomping grounds.

Acquired in the trade that sent Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe to the Rangers, Smoak could be in line to receive at least a partial share of the postseason shares the Rangers will get.

Back in Seattle, designated hitter Russell Branyan was seeing a spine specialist and Mike Carp was having his right arch checked out. Brown said a medical update could be available later tonight. Both are expected to miss the entire Rangers series.

Rookie Matt Mangini is getting his second consecutive start at third base in tonight’s game. He cleanly handled all four grounders hit at him in Sunday’s game against the Rays. Brown said Mangini has the kind of work ethic that will make him a superb defender. Mangini committed 24 errors during the season at Triple-A Tacoma.

So far so good for right-handed reliever Dan Cortes. He is the first Mariners reliever to start his career with consecutive perfect innings since Kevin King in 1993. Here’s predicting that Cortes will have a better career than King. Mike Schooler made three consecutive appearances in 1988 without allowing a baserunner.

Ichiro Suzuki’s right ribs were a tad sore today after being plunked by a pickoff throw at first base yesterday. There is not a lot of beef in the area that hit him.

Without further adieu, here is tonight’s Mariners lineup:

1. Ichiro, RF
2. Chone Figgins, 2B
3. Jose Lopez, DH
4. Franklin Gutierrez, CF
5. Justin Smoak, 1B
6. Adam Moore, C
7. Matt Mangini, 3B
8. Greg Halman, LF
9. Josh Wilson, SS
RHP David Pauley

— Jim Street

One comment

  1. millserss2010@hotmail.com

    It?s a big night for Mariners with or without the talisman Aardsma because he did not take part last week but all went on well. Since the knee discomfort is now over I think Rangers have a long night here especially with the form that Justin Smoak is showing. – Jordan

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