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04/13/07 11:00 PM ET

Notes: Mariners finally escape weather

Club returns to Safeco Field after week of postponements

SEATTLE -- The Seattle Mariners, more of a virtual team this past week with five postponements, needed help from Safeco Field's $100 million roof to get a game in on Friday night.

Rain continued to follow the Mariners back home, but the luxury of Safeco's retractable roof allowed the first game on this six-game homestand to be played.

"The biggest thing is getting out and playing," Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said. "Baseball is a game meant to be played, not practiced. You can practice to a certain extent, but then you have to play the game, get into the competition to really hone your skills and sharpen things. That's the biggest concern for all of them."

Down the road, however, the team will pay a competitive price for its snowouts in Cleveland and rainout in Boston. Since the club left Seattle on Wednesday, April 4, it played just two games, meaning it will now sacrifice off-days and travel days to recover what Mother Nature denied.

"No one said anything in life is going to be fair," Hargrove said. "[But] we're in kind of in a competitive disadvantage. Depending on how it is set up, it would be a difficult thing to swallow to have it pushed to that extreme where the schedule is not that good."

It already isn't so good. The Boston game will be made up on May 3 at 12:05 p.m. PT at Fenway Park. That falls on their travel day, before a nine-game road trip beginning in New York.

The club is asking the city to allow it to change the time for its May 2 game from 7:05 p.m. to 1:05 p.m. PT so the club can leave earlier for Boston. The lease agreement between the city and the Mariners allows for only six day games per season and all of those have been scheduled.

The Cleveland games are more difficult because of the number and the fact that the Mariners do not have another scheduled trip to Cleveland. One possibility is June 11. That's also an off-day in the middle of a road trip between playing the San Diego Padres and the Chicago Cubs. The club could stop in Cleveland one game, or possibly two, and then travel on to Chicago that evening.

"It depends on the number of games we play up to and after that, to know how much effect it will have on us," Hargrove said.

Hargrove added that he will continue to keep his starters on rotation because they all need to work.

"No reason to do anything differently, but we also didn't anticipate missing five of the last seven games," he said. "But until we get through the rotation and get back on fairly regular days, it's going to be an interesting proposition every night."

End of the Rhodes? Reliever Arthur Rhodes' season and possibly his career could hinge on what decision he makes this week on his injured elbow.

The veteran left-hander was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament before he could even throw a pitch for the Mariners this season. He was given two choices, rest and rehab in the hope that somehow it heals itself, or ligament-reconstruction surgery. The surgery would sideline him six to nine months and at age 37, there would be the question whether he could return to his big-league form.

Rhodes came to Safeco Field before Friday's game to talk with trainer Rick Griffin about his options. Rhodes, who made the club as a non-roster invitee, was expected to get a second opinion on the elbow before making his decision.

In the meantime, Hargrove said the club has the arms within the organization to make up for his loss.

"I feel like we have people who can pick up the slack. Jake Woods is in the mix, although he has not pitched for a while," Hargrove said. "Jake gives us the best fit."

Woods, a lefty who pitched in 37 games last season for the Mariners, was called up on Tuesday when Rhodes was placed on the disabled list.

There also are a couple left-handers in the Minors who Hargrove said could help if needed in Eric O'Flaherty and Brad Thomas. Both were non-roster invitees to training camp.

O'Flaherty has a 3.00 ERA in three appearances with Triple-A Tacoma. Thomas, signed on March 1 with previous big-league experience with Boston and Minnesota, has a 13.50 ERA in three outings for the Rainiers.

Hargrove added that Rhodes' replacement doesn't have to be a left-hander but he'd like it to be.

Mariners' log: Five Mariners players, outfielder Jason Ellison, third baseman Adrian Beltre, second baseman Jose Lopez and Miguel Batista, are all expected to wear uniform No. 42 for Sunday's game. They will do it to honor the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues, breaking the color barrier. Rhodes has said he would like to wear the number, but it's not certain he will dress for the game. ... Hargrove said that despite the lack of work for his starters, they will continue to be on a 105-115 pitch count. ... Left fielder Raul Ibanez received the Moose Clausen Community Service Award before Friday's game. ... Ibanez hit his 200th career double in the first inning on Friday. ... The Mariners have opened the first five games with the same lineup offensively and defensively for the first time in club history.

On deck: The Mariners continue the three-game series with the Rangers with an 12:55 p.m. contest on Saturday. Batista (0-1, 15.43 ERA), who last started on April 4, will take the mound for the Mariners against Rangers right-hander Vicente Padilla (0-2, 6.94).

Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.