Opponent: Kansas City Royals
When: 7:05 p.m.
Where: Safeco Field
TV: Fox Sports Net
Radio: KOMO (1000 AM)
Pitchers: Seattle right-hander Joel Pineiro (4-5, 5.13 earned run average) vs. right-hander Seth Etherton (1-0, 1.80).
Manager Mike Hargrove kept Adrian Beltre in the No. 2 spot in the batting order and Jose Lopez at No. 3 for the third straight game, and he said that arrangement might last a while.
“I like the impact it’s had on Beltre,” Hargrove said. “He’s swung the bat very well. This is something that very well could last all year long.”
Beltre went 3-for-6 with two RBI and a run Wednesday at Texas, lifting his batting average to .230.
Hargrove had some concerns moving Lopez, playing his first full major league season at age 22, into a different role after he’d succeeded in the No. 2 spot. He entered Friday batting .282 with a team-high eight home runs and 42 RBI.
Wednesday, while batting third, Lopez went 2-for-5 with two RBI.
“He’s a young kid who was doing well in the two spot and I hesitated doing that,” Hargrove said. “But I think Jose can handle it.
“Sometimes when you move somebody to a different type of run-producing situation, they might try to do too much with the bat rather than settling back and doing what they’d done before. But we talked with Jose and we trust that he’ll just continue to do what he’s doing. He doesn’t need to change. His ability will take over.”
Vote for Lopez: Hargrove said he won’t lobby the White Sox’s Ozzie Guillen, who will manage the AL squad in the All-Star game, to put Lopez on the roster.
Hargrove has no doubt, though, that Lopez deserves to be on the team.
“I can’t help lobby for it, but if the manager that’s making the choice gives me a call, I’ll give my two cents,” Hargrove said. “Do I think he deserves recognition? Sure, but we’ve still got a ways to go before the All-Star break. But if Jose continues to do what he’s done both offensively and defensively, he deserves it. Without a doubt.”
Entering Friday’s game, Lopez led American League second basemen in home runs (8), RBI and average.
Felix OK: Felix Hernandez wore a purple/yellow/green bruise on the outside of his right forearm Friday, the result of a hard one-hop grounder that hit him Wednesday in Texas.
Hernandez, whose arm stiffened before he was pulled from the game, said Friday that he felt fine.
“It’s just a little bruise,” he said. “I played catch today. No problem.”
Of note: Hargrove said Friday afternoon that he had spoken with Royals manager Buddy Bell but didn’t offer any sympathy to another skipper suffering through a miserable season. “He had none for me, so we’re even,” Hargrove said. … Richie Sexson, who didn’t start Tuesday because of a bruised heel, was in the lineup Friday but not at full strength. “I don’t know that he’s 100 percent, but he’s enough percent to be able to play,” Hargrove said. … Ichiro Suzuki played in his 295th straight game, adding to the record he set Wednesday when he broke Edgar Martinez’s mark of 293 straight. … The Mariners and Pirates are the only two teams in the major leagues to use five starting pitchers this season.
Kirby Arnold, Herald Writer