SEATTLE -- If all goes well in his rehab start on Sunday at Triple-A Tacoma, left-hander Cliff Lee's first regular-season start with the Mariners will be on April 30 against the Rangers at Safeco Field.That is two days earlier than originally planned, and the reason, manager Don Wakamatsu said, is that he didn't want Lee to go seven days between his rehab start and his maiden Mariners voyage. Lee's addition means someone has to leave the rotation, and that's something being discussed internally and around water coolers in the Northwest. Right-hander Ian Snell, scheduled to start Saturday's game against the White Sox in Chicago, has been pushed back three days and will now start against the Royals in Kansas City on Tuesday night. "He had a great bullpen [on Wednesday], and it's a chance to continue to work with him," Wakamatsu said. Snell, who is 0-2 with a 5.14 ERA, has been affected by personal issues, including the death of a relative in Florida, which caused him to be away from the team for four days last week. Wakamatsu has not decided who will come out of the rotation. "We'll evaluate what we're going to do closer to the 30th when we have to," he said.
Dinged-up Bradley sits out again
SEATTLE -- The Mariners realized when they acquired left fielder Milton Bradley that he had so many previous injuries that they would take the safe route and rest him whenever he experienced some aches and pains.The switch-hitter has been on the disabled list 11 times in his Major League career, and with soreness in his right and left calf muscles the past few days, he was out of the starting lineup in Wednesday night's series finale against the Orioles. He left Tuesday night's game in the first inning with tightness in his left calf. Discomfort in his right calf limited him to pinch-hit duty on Saturday night against the Tigers. "It's nothing serious," manager Don Wakamatsu said, "so we'll give him a day off today and tomorrow with the off-day." Bradley should be in the lineup on Friday night when the Mariners open a three-game weekend series against the White Sox. It will be his first game in the Windy City since early September, when he was invited to take the remainder of the season off, ending his one-year stint with the crosstown Cubs. Bradley had a productive first homestand with the Mariners, going 6-for-21 with four runs scored, a double, a home run and eight RBIs.
Kotchman moves up in lineup
SEATTLE -- Mariners first baseman Casey Kotchman advanced two places in the lineup for Wednesday night's series finale against the Orioles, batting fifth.He had a five-game hitting streak end on Tuesday night, when he went 0-for-4, but the dynamics of the lineup had more to do with his elevation than his batting average. "It's not so much that we're moving him up because he's hot," manager Don Wakamatsu, "but because we like the way the lineup slots out today." With left fielder Milton Bradley and designated hitter Ken Griffey Jr. out of the lineup against Orioles right-hander Kevin Millwood, Wakamatsu put right-handed-hitting Matt Tuiasosopo in left field and Mike Sweeney in the DH spot. "I like our lineup the way it's going," Wakamatsu said. "It gives us [production] a little bit deeper in the lineup. I don't know that we're making a statement that we're changing just because he's hot. Griff's not in there today and Milton's not in there. "I said a week ago that I want to establish somewhat of a consistent lineup. We've had a pretty good run here, and I'm comfortable with that lineup. But you're going to have days when you'll have to make changes because of injury, and that's what today is."
General manager Jack Zduriencik has built a team well suited for spacious Safeco Field, and it definitely is paying dividends. The pitching-and-defense concept has resulted in a 23-8 record dating to last season. The Mariners went 34-19 in their final 53 home games last season and won six of their first eight games this season. Including the final month of the 2009 season, Seattle pitchers have a 2.44 ERA in the past 21 games at home. ... Right-hander Doug Fister pitched the equivalent of a 10-inning no-hitter in his last two starts. The leadoff single he surrendered in the seventh inning Monday night against the Orioles snapped a streak of 31 consecutive hitless at-bats, the third-longest hitless streak in franchise history. Only Randy Johnson (35 batters in May 1993) and John Montague (40 in 1977) had longer streaks. ... Left-hander Erik Bedard threw a 60-pitch bullpen session on Wednesday. The next step in his recovery from shoulder surgery will be determined in the next day or two.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.