Notes: Lineup slowly taking shape

Notes: Lineup slowly taking shape

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Opening Day is still over a month away but manager Mike Hargrove admitted Thursday that he already has a pretty good idea of how his lineup for will look when the Mariners face the A's on April 2 at Safeco Field.

He's just not quite willing to divulge details just yet.

Here's what we know -- Ichiro Suzuki will hit leadoff. The rest, essentially, is subject to change, though it looks like Adrian Beltre will hit second with Jose Lopez (eighth) and Yuniesky Betancourt (ninth) situated at the bottom of the lineup.

The rest is essentially up for grabs.

"We still have a lot of Spring Training left and there's a lot of things I still want to look at as far as hitters' abilities," Hargrove said. "There's a question at the three spot -- we have to find a guy who can hit three. We'll see where it goes."

Hargrove said he's leaning toward having Beltre hit second in the order, which is where the third baseman experienced most of his success in 2006 after being move there in late May.

Hargrove has options in the middle of the order, though he'll likely pair Raul Ibanez and Richie Sexson together somewhere, possibly at No. 3 and No. 4. Last season, those two combined for 77 home runs and 230 RBIs. Ibanez and Sexson could easily hit third and fourth.

"Some hitters are good when they hit 3, 4 and 5. Some are better when they hit 6, 7 and 8," Hargrove said. "I'll try to look at a few different combinations. But you look at our order and you know Ibanez and Sexson will be hitting in the middle of the order."

Hargrove said that he won't likely use catcher Kenji Johjima at the No. 3 spot, at least not to start the season. Johjima spent most of his first season in the Major Leagues hitting seventh in the order, which is where he had his most success.

Johjima hit just .230 in 61 at-bats hitting third.

Hargrove has raved about Jose Guillen's bat early in camp and he might be a candidate to hit fifth in the order, especially since he has a history of being a run producer. If that's the case, another newcomer, switch-hitting designated hitter Jose Vidro, could slide in at No. 6 with Johjima, Lopez and Betancourt to follow.

Of course, all of this is subject to change. And even if this is the batting order Hargrove goes with, don't plan on seeing it during exhibition play anytime soon.

"I don't know if you'll see it at all -- having all nine guys who will be our starters in the lineup," he said. "That doesn't happen much in spring. Maybe the last three, four games."

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No remorse: Catcher Jeff Clement certainly wasn't happy about having his left hand hit by Mike Morse's bat during a drill Wednesday, but he isn't about to be gun shy about how he goes about his work behind the plate.

"You get beat up quite a bit but that's just how the position is," Clement said Thursday. "We all know that. So you just deal with it. If you're tentative you're going to get hurt more."

Clement's middle finger on his left hand was hit by Morse's bat, though Seattle's first-round draft pick in 2005 wasn't about to blame Morse.

"I just got too close," he said. "It doesn't happen that often, but I guess if it's going to happen it's better to do it in Spring Training and not a game where the guy would get first base."

Clement said his finger -- which required a precautionary X-ray that came back negative -- was bruised and swollen. But he felt better after the medical staff drilled a hole in the nail on his finger to get some of the blood out and relieve the pressure.

"I'll take it easy today and be ready to go tomorrow," Clement said. "I'm lucky that there wasn't a fracture. Obviously with it not being an important game or anything, there's no need to push it."

Niehaus misses out on Frick: Kansas City Royals broadcaster Denny Matthews was named the winner of the 2007 Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence on Thursday.

Longtime Mariners broadcaster Dave Niehaus was a finalist for the award for the fourth consecutive year.

The Frick Award -- named in memory of Hall of Famer Ford C. Frick, a sportswriter, radio broadcaster, National League president and baseball commissioner -- is given to an active or retired broadcaster who has a minimum of 10 years continuous Major League broadcast service with a team, network or a combination of the two.

Joining Niehaus on the ballot this year were Denny Matthews, Dizzy Dean, France Laux, Tom Cheek, Tony Kubek, Ken Harrelson, Joe Nuxhall, Bill King and Graham McNamee.

Mariners log: As of the end of Thursday's workout, Hargrove had not heard any results from the MRI reliever Mark Lowe has on his right elbow on Wednesday. Lowe called his latest MRI -- the third he has had on an elbow that needed surgery in October to repair a chondral defect -- the worst. He was poked "five or six times" by his counts by lab technicians who injected dye into his bloodstream before the MRI.

Corey Brock is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.