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Originally published Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at 9:01 PM

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M's notebook | Adrian Beltre returns with proper protection

Adrian Beltre is getting fed up with the questions and jokes flying around the past three weeks since he injured a testicle while trying to field a ground ball without the proper equipment.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Adrian Beltre didn't want to discuss whether or not he'd be wearing a protective cup for Tuesday's start at third base. Beltre is getting fed up with the questions and jokes flying around the past three weeks since he injured a testicle while trying to field a ground ball without the proper equipment.

But while he says he'll never answer that particular question again, manager Don Wakamatsu did the talking for him.

"Adrian will wear a cup tonight," Wakamatsu said before Tuesday's game.

When Beltre came up for his first at-bat, the theme for Tchaikovsky's "The Nutcracker" was played, a gesture from Ken Griffey Jr., whose MRI on his knee showed no structural damage.

Beltre said he's still in some pain, but could have been back in the lineup last Friday. Instead, the team asked him to wait until rosters were expanded so a player did not have to be removed to make room for him.

Notes

Lee Pelekoudas, vice president and associate general manager, said he is leaving to pursue other career opportunities. Pelekoudas was Seattle's interim general manager part of last season and had worked for the Mariners since 1979.

• Wakamatsu said there is a strong possibility that Russell Branyan will not be back this season. Branyan is on the DL with a herniated disc in his back. The team is targeting a mid-month return in hopes he responds to treatment.

Branyan had an epidural Tuesday and supposedly feels better, but nobody can say for sure when he'll be back.

"I think with the bulging disc, there's a strong chance that he won't come back," Wakamatsu said. "Our dialogue has been to shoot for the 15th."

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or gbaker@seattletimes.com.

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

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