Earthquake shakes a Mariners organization with close ties to Japan

Welcome from Goodyear Ballpark, where a Mariners lineup of mostly non-regulars, along with pitching prospect Michael Pineda, is preparing to face the Indians.

Baseball is kind of an afterthought today considering the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami fears along the West Coast. So far, we’re not sure how anyone directly connected with the Mariners has been affected by the earthquake.

Ichiro Suzuki told reporters, through an interpreter, this morning that he hadn’t been able to reach his family in Japan because phone service was out. Until he’s able to know more about the situation as it affects him, Ichiro said he wouldn’t discuss the earthquake. He’s not in the lineup today, which was part of the schedule all along since he played the past two days.

Ichiro’s interpreter, Antony Suzuki (no relation), said his wife is traveling in Japan but is fine. Hide Sueyoshi, the organization’s minor league international administration director, spoke with his mother and friends in Tokyo but was concerned most with friends in the Sendai region who work for the Rakuten Eagles.

The Mariners, owned by Nintendo, issued this statement this morning from team CEO Howard Lincoln:

“The Mariners would like to join with people from around the world in extending our sympathy to the many families affected by the devastating earthquake and tsunami centered in Sendai.

“The Mariners and the city of Seattle have a long and close relationship with the people of Japan. Particularly close to all of us here at the Mariners are the many Nintendo employees and their families in Kyoto, Tokyo and other parts of Japan and the many, many Mariners fans all across the country. Our thoughts and best wishes are with the families as they face this great challenge.”

Other items of interest before today’s game:

• Newly signed James Paxton, the Mariners’ fourth-round draft pick last year, threw his first bullpen this morning in Peoria.

• It’s Michael Pineda Day against the Indians. The big (and we mean big – 6-foot-7 and 260 pounds) right-hander has thrown four scoreless innings so far, allowing one hit and two walks with two strikeouts.

•There are a lot of former Mariners in today’s lineup today. Good to see Asdrubal Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Jack Hannahan and Ezequiel Carrera again.

• Today’s game will be carried on ESPN 710 AM radio. I’ll also file frequent Twitter updates via @kirbyarnold.

Here are today’s lineups:

MARINERS
Josh Wilson, shortstop
Luis Rodriguez, third base
Adam Kennedy, first base
Jack Cust, DH
Matt Tuiasosopo, left field
Michael Saunders, center field
Dustin Ackley, second base
Chris Gimenez, catcher
Johermyn Chavez, right field

Starting pitcher: Right-hander Michael Pineda

INDIANS
Orlando Cabrera, second base
Asdrubal Cabrera, shortstop
Shin-Soo Choo, right field
Austin Kearns, left field
Travis Hafner, DH
Lonnie Chisenhall, third base
Lou Marson, catcher
Jack Hannahan, first base
Ezequiel Carrera, center field

Starting pitcher: Right-hander Mitch Talbot

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