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  • Saturday, June 5, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

One day after Randy Winn had another tough game in center field, manager Bob Melvin moved him to left Saturday.

Hiram Bocachica started in center as Winn moved back to his old position, but Melvin said it wasn’t related to Winn’s performance.

With regular left fielder Raul Ibanez out at least a month because of a strained hamstring, Melvin said he will rotate Bocachica, Winn and Jolbert Cabrera in left and center.

When Bocachica starts, he will spend most of his time in center with Winn moving to left. When Cabrera starts, he’ll play left and Winn will stay in center.

“It’s not so much about Randy as it is the other guys,” Melvin said. “Randy is good enough to be flexible and play anywhere we want him to. Believe me, it’s not the first or last time you’ll see him in left and it’s not the first or last time you’ll see him in center.”

Bocachica nearly made a spectacular play Saturday, racing to deep right-center field for a fly ball hit by Carlos Lee in the sixth inning. Ichiro Suzuki made the catch as Bocachica lunged out of the way at the last second to avoid a collision.

“Ichiro ended up getting it, but Boca covered a lot of ground there,” Melvin said.

Mighty Mateo: Julio Mateo was handed a pitcher’s nightmare – two runners on base and nobody out with Frank Thomas and Carlos Lee coming to bat – and he turned it into a dream.

Mateo fanned Thomas on a called third strike and got Lee on a fly ball to left field. Melvin then brought in closer Eddie Guardado to get the final out of the eighth and work the ninth.

Mateo has been solid in his previous two outings, including last Tuesday’s game against Toronto when he allowed one hit in three shutout innings.

“He had a stretch where he was getting some balls in the middle of the plate and they were hitting them,” Melvin said. “But he’s a tough kid. That’s something we found out last spring when he made the club. And it’s something we find out when he goes from role to role to role to role.”

Hurting, slumping Spiezio: Third baseman Scott Spiezio didn’t play Saturday because he continues to feel the pain of a strained oblique that won’t allow him to bat right-handed.

With the White Sox using left-handed starter Scott Schoeneweis, Spiezio took a seat and right handed-hitting Willie Bloomquist played third.

Spiezio is hitless in his last 21 at-bats, but Melvin wouldn’t say the injury affects him when he bats left-handed.

“Everybody goes through some slumps and he’s scuffling at the plate right now,” Melvin said. “But I don’t think it’s affecting him. If I did think it was, he wouldn’t be in there.”

Climbing the ladder: Edgar Martinez’s first-inning double Saturday was the 505th of his career, tying him with Tony Perez for 36th place on baseball’s all-time doubles list.

Kirby Arnold, Herald Writer

minor league report

minor league report

Class AAA Tacoma Rainiers: You’ll need a program to recognize this team – a Rainiers program and a Class AA San Antonio program.

The Rainers have undergone a significant roster shuffle lately and they’ve been scuffling on the field because of it. Starting pitcher Clint Nageotte and outfielder Hiram Bocachica have been promoted to the Mariners and catcher Jim Horner has been sidelined because of a groin strain.

On Thursday, the Rainiers used four new relief pitchers in their loss to Sacramento – Gustavo Martinez (called up from San Antonio), Scott Maynard (who was a catcher last year), Andy Shibalo (picked up after he was released in May by the Cubs) and Shawn Nottingham (a 19-year-old who was playing high school ball at this time last year).

Outfielder Greg Jacobs was promoted from San Antonio to replace Bocachica, and catcher Jorge Maduro was called up the extended spring training camp to replace Horner and back up Ben Davis. Catcher Wiki Gonzalez has been out a few weeks because of leg problems.

The Rainers remained in first place in the Pacific Coast League North Division entering the weekend, 41/2 games ahead of Edmonton. Gil Meche, sent down to regain his control and confidence, will start today for the Rainers.

Left-hander Travis Blackley is 5-2 with a 3.02 earned run average and lefty Bobby Madritsch, who returned last week after missing time with a strained oblique, is 3-1, 3.15.

Outfielder Jamal Strong was hitting .331 with six steals and designated hitter Bucky Jacobsen .314 with 13 home runs and 49 RBI after hitting two homers Thursday against Sacramento.

Davis, who struggled early at the plate after being sent down by the Mariners last month, had his average up to .239 (16-for-67). He hit his first homer Thursday.

Class AA San Antonio Missions: The Missions continued to plummet in the Texas League West, falling to 23-31 entering the weekend and losing five more games in the standings to division leader Round Rock. San Antonio was 15 games out.

Outfielder Dustin Delucchi was betting .330 with a team-high seven stolen bases, and Greg Jacobs was batting .310 with five homers and 31 RBI before being called up to Tacoma.

Third baseman Greg Dobbs was hitting .313.

Right-hander Juan Done was the only starting pitcher above .500 with a 4-3 record and a 5.06 ERA. Closer Jared Hoerman had eight saves and a 3.50 ERA.

Class A Inland Empire 66ers: The 66ers fell out of first place but remained eight games above .500 (31-23) entering the weekend.

Shortstop Juan Gonzalez was hitting .333 and stole 12 bases (although he’d been caught 11 times) and outfielder Jon Nelson was hitting .311. Outfielder T.J. Bohn had six home runs and 30 RBI and was batting .294, and promising young catcher Rene Rivera was hitting .257 with four homers and 29 RBI.

Right-handed pitcher Felix Hernandez, 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA, had 68 strikeouts in 592/3 innings. Lefty Bobby Livingston was 6-2, 2.69 in 11 starts.

Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers: The Rattlers remained five games under .500 (24-29) and seventh in the Midwest League Western Division, again struggling offensively.

Third baseman Evel Bastida-Martinez led the team with a .268 average and eight steals, and shortstop Adam Jones was batting .237 with three homers, 29 RBI, eight doubles and three triples.

Left-handed pitcher Thomas Oldham raised his record to 3-3 with a 3.77 ERA after going 72/3 innings in a 5-3 victory Thursday at Lansing. Lefty Ryan Feierabend is 6-2, 3.60 in 10 starts. Righty Brian Stitt had 12 saves and a 2.51 ERA.

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