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Kirby Arnold | karnold@heraldnet.com
Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011, 8:19 a.m.

Felix Hernandez simulated game will get the Mariners' day started

There's a buzz this morning in Peoria, either because Felix Hernandez will work a 35-pitch simulated game, or because newly acquired pitcher Aaron Laffey is on the premises, or because the fluorescent light above me in the media work room is about to blow.

Hernandez will work two innings or 35 pitches at 10:45 a.m. (Arizona time) and, if that goes well, pitch in his first exhibition game Tuesday in Peoria against the San Francisco Giants.

Pitching coach Carl Willis said Hernandez would remain on an every-fifth-day schedule, although there will need to be an adjustment to put him in line for the April 1 opener at Oakland. (Either that or Michael Pineda, who started yesterday, will be the opening-day starter. Highly doubtful.)

Willis said left-hander Jason Vargas, who'll pitch a simulated game on Friday, is on an identical schedule to Hernandez's (although one day later).

A few other notes before what looks to be a busy day with Hernandez's simulated game and the Mariners' exhibition against the White Sox at one of my favorite spring training ballparks, Camelback Ranch.

• We'll get our first look today at the double-play combo of Jack Wilson and Brendan Ryan. Wilson will start at shortstop and Ryan at second base against the White Sox. Both players have fielded balls at both positions in morning workouts, but until today they've alternated starts at shortstop.

• Adam Kennedy will play his third different position in three games, starting at third base. He has started once at first base and once at second.

• Brandon League is on the pitching list for today, and it'll be interesting to see if he throws the slider he's been working on. He didn't use it Monday against the Padres in his only exhibition inning so far.

League hopes to throw that pitch more often this year, especially against left-handers who might be sitting on his fastball.

“It's more like a cutter but I call it a slider. That sounds better,” League said. “It looks like my fastball and it doesn't move a lot. But it's another look and something I can throw against left-handers. I have the sinker and the fastball, but I can throw the slider in a fastball count. I've thrown it in the past, but last year I got away from it.”

• Two days after the Mariners got an in-their-face demonstration of Arthur Rhodes' command at age 41, they'll see another ageless wonder today. Omar Vizquel, 43, will start at shortstop for the White Sox.

$bull; Speaking of a flash from the past, a huge black pickup just pulled into the Mariners' parking lot and out of it stepped some 6-foot-11 greatness. Randy Johnson is here this morning.

• There's no radio broadcast of today's game, so we'll toss out info and observations from the ballpark throughout the afternoon via Twitter (@kirbyarnold).

Here are today's lineups

MARINERS
Jack Wilson, shortstop
Franklin Gutierrez, center field
Milton Bradley, DH
Jack Cust, left field
Miguel Olivo, catcher
Adam Kennedy, third base
Brendan Ryan, second base
Mike Carp, first base
Greg Halman, right field

Starting pitcher: left-hander Luke French

WHITE SOX
Lastings Milledge, left field
Gordon Beckham, second base
Adam Dunn, first base
Paul Konerko, DH
Alex Rios, center field
Mark Teahen, third base
Dayan Viciedo, right field
Ramon Castro, catcher
Omar Vizquel, shortstop

Starting pitcher: left-hander John Danks


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