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Tuesday, August 8, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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M's Notes: Soriano is comeback finalist

Seattle Times staff reporter

Reliever Rafael Soriano was named Monday as one of six finalists for American League Comeback Player of the Year.

Soriano, 1-1 with two saves and a 2.06 earned-run average in 43 appearances, sat out most of the past two seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery to reconstruct ligaments in his right elbow.

The 26-year-old, who has 58 strikeouts in 52-1/3 innings, said he has become a smarter pitcher because he's had almost two full seasons to study hitters and become more acclimated to the league.

"I talked to a lot of guys [after the surgery]," Soriano said. "They said, 'Do whatever you have to do, just be happy if you can come back, maybe the same, maybe better.' Right now, I feel better."

He also said the shoulder fatigue that hampered him most of July and landed him on the disabled list appears to be behind him.

The other AL finalists are Detroit's Magglio Ordonez, Baltimore's Corey Patterson, Boston's Curt Schilling, Oakland's Frank Thomas and Chicago's Jim Thome. Fans can vote on MLB.com through Sept. 30. The winner will be announced during the playoffs.

Pineiro still in

Joel Pineiro's recent struggles have prompted speculation that he might be replaced in the starting rotation. Twice since July 1, Pineiro has lasted just 2-2/3 innings.

Is Mariners manager Mike Hargrove considering a change? "As of right now, no," he said. "I don't anticipate doing anything."

The Mariners are the only team in baseball that has used just five starters this season. Every other club has used at least seven. Pineiro's next start is scheduled for Thursday against Texas.

Sharing center stage

Including last night, utility man Willie Bloomquist has started in center field three of the past five games.

"It's certainly not a move-Adam Jones-out-of-center-field move," Hargrove said of last night's lineup. Bloomquist needs playing time as well, Hargrove added.

Jones has struggled offensively since being called up in mid-July, batting just .204. He also committed his second error of the season on Sunday.

Jones is "gonna be a very, very good player at some point in time," Hargrove said. "Right now we're trying to develop him to that point."

Pentland on Ichiro

Ichiro, who entered Monday's game with just seven hits in his last 42 at-bats, has dropped 16 points off his batting average in the last 10 games. He is currently hitting .330.

Hitting coach Jeff Pentland said after studying tapes of Ichiro swinging, he sees the same player he saw in June, when Ichiro hit .386.

"Sometimes you get in a slump and you're doing everything right," Pentland said. "I told him his swing his good. The balls he's hit hard, they've just caught some of them. ... They're just not falling right now."

Pentland cautioned against taking Ichiro's career pace for granted. Ichiro has a .332 lifetime batting average in six seasons with Seattle.

"I don't worry about him. He knows what he's doing," Pentland said. "He's been around a long time. He knows not to change anything when it's not broken."

Notes

Richie Sexson was seen limping after sliding into home plate in the first inning of Sunday's loss to Oakland. He pronounced himself fine before Monday's game and hit in his customary fifth spot in the lineup.

• Former Mariner Carl Everett cleared waivers Monday, officially making him a free agent. The club designated Everett for assignment on July 26 and put him on waivers Thursday.

How the runs scored

Devil Rays first: Hollins struck out. Crawford tripled to right. Cantu singled to right, Crawford scored. Lee walked on a full count, Cantu to second. Norton struck out. Cantu stole third. Navarro flied out to right fielder Ichiro. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Devil Rays 1, M's 0.

Mariners first: Ichiro grounded out, third baseman Upton to first baseman Lee. Lopez doubled to right. Beltre homered to center on a 0-1 count, Lopez scored. Ibanez flied out to center fielder Hollins. Sexson struck out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on. M's 2, Devil Rays 1.

Devil Rays third: Hollins lined out to center fielder Bloomquist. Crawford flied out to left fielder Ibanez. Cantu walked. Lee singled to center, Cantu to second. Norton singled to left, Cantu scored, Lee to second. Navarro grounded out, pitcher Moyer to first baseman Sexson. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. M's 2, Devil Rays 2.

Mariners third: Bloomquist singled to center. Ichiro flied out to right fielder Norton. Lopez doubled to center, Bloomquist to third. Beltre lined out to second baseman Cantu. Ibanez was intentionally walked. Sexson walked on a full count, Bloomquist scored, Lopez to third, Ibanez to second. Broussard grounded into fielder's choice, shortstop Zobrist to second baseman Cantu, Sexson out. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 left on. M's 3, Devil Rays 2.

Devil Rays fourth: Upton singled to left. Upton stole second. Gomes struck out. Zobrist doubled to left, Upton scored. Hollins grounded out, third baseman Beltre to first baseman Sexson. Crawford singled to right, Zobrist scored. Cantu flied out to right fielder Ichiro. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Devil Rays 4, M's 3.

Mariners fifth: Ichiro grounded out, shortstop Zobrist to first baseman Lee. Lopez singled to center. Beltre flied out to left fielder Crawford. Ibanez homered to right on a 0-1 count, Lopez scored. Sexson struck out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on. M's 5, Devil Rays 4.

Mariners statistics

BATTERS Avg AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
Dobbs .333 9 1 3 0 0 0 1 0
Ichiro .330 473 77 156 12 6 6 35 34
Broussard .311 286 45 89 14 0 14 47 0
Betancourt .302 378 49 114 17 4 5 36 10
Johjima .293 338 44 99 17 1 12 50 1
Perez .289 135 21 39 9 0 9 28 0
Lopez .285 424 57 121 23 7 9 62 3
Ibanez .276 427 69 118 24 5 23 89 2
Beltre .260 430 59 112 28 4 12 52 10
Bloomquist .255 157 25 40 3 1 0 9 9
Sexson .222 414 47 92 20 0 24 76 1
Reed .217 212 27 46 6 5 6 17 2
Jones .204 54 2 11 2 0 0 3 2
Rivera .154 65 7 10 4 0 2 4 0
Snelling 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team .267 3857 521 1028 171 33 113 485 76
PITCHERS W-L ERA SV IP H ER BB SO
Lowe 1-0 0.00 0 14.2 8 0 6 17
Soriano 1-1 2.02 2 53.1 39 12 17 59
Putz 2-0 2.17 24 54.0 37 13 9 70
Sherrill 2-2 2.81 1 32.0 18 10 20 35
Woods 3-1 3.78 1 50.0 47 21 30 34
Moyer 6-10 4.28 0 147.1 162 70 40 78
Meche 9-6 4.35 0 136.2 136 66 57 114
Washburn 5-11 4.47 0 137.0 142 68 39 74
Hernandez 10-9 4.49 0 128.1 132 64 46 117
Mateo 7-4 4.67 0 44.1 53 23 19 15
Green 0-0 5.40 0 20.0 19 12 10 12
Pineiro 7-9 5.78 0 127.2 163 82 45 64
Team 54-57 4.35 34 996.2 1021 482 372 745

For the record

W-L PCT.
54-57 .486

W/L streak: W-1

At home: 29-29

On road: 25-28

vs. AL West: 10-21

vs. Angels: 7-5

vs. Oakland: 1-12

vs. Texas: 2-4

vs. AL East: 16-14

vs. AL Cen.: 14-18

vs. NL: 14-4

vs. LHP: 16-18

vs. RHP: 38-39

Day: 18-20

Night: 36-37

1-run: 12-17

Extra innings: 3-7

Home attendance

Monday's crowd: 30,375

Overall attendance: 1,740,832

Season avg. (58 games): 30,014

Biggest crowd: 46,325

Smallest crowd: 16,102

2005 avg. (58 games): 34,134

The week ahead

T

Tampa Bay

7:05 p.m., FSN

RH Felix

Hernandez (10-9)

vs.

RH Jae Seo

(3-9)

W

Tampa Bay

1:35 p.m.

LH Jarrod

Washburn (5-11)

vs.

RH Jamie Shields

(4-5)

Th

@ Texas

5:05 p.m., FSN

RH Joel Pineiro

(7-9)

vs.

LH John Koronka (7-7)

F

@ Texas

5:35 p.m., Ch. 11

RH Gil Meche

(9-6)

vs.

RH Adam Eaton (1-2)

Sa

@ Texas

5:05 p.m., Ch. 11

LH Jamie Moyer (6-10)

vs.

RH Kip Wells

(2-5)

Su

@ Texas

5:05 p.m., no TV

RH Felix

Hernandez (10-9)

vs.

RH Kevin

Millwood (10-7)

M

@ Oakland

7:05 p.m., FSN

LH Jarrod

Washburn (5-11)

vs.

RH Shane Komine (0-0)

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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Monday, May 6

Pro baseballTVRadio
4:07 p.m.Seattle at TorontoROOT710
7 p.m.PCL, Reno at Tacoma850
7:30 p.m.*Seattle at TorontoROOT
NBA basketball playoffs
4 p.m.New York at BostonESPN
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NHL hockey playoffs
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Complete TV/Radio listingsMore

AL West W L Pct. GB Div. Streak
y-LA Angels 100 62 .617 --- 36-21 Won 1
Texas 79 83 .488 21 30-27 Lost 1
Oakland 75 86 .466 24.5 26-31 Lost 5
Seattle 61 101 .377 39 22-35 Won 3

y - clinched division, x - clinched playoff berth

Wild card standings | AL standings | NL standings

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