MILWAUKEE -- The Mariners will make two trips to Yankee Stadium this season, so when Cliff Lee toes the hill Tuesday in a series opener with the Yankees, it may not be his last outing on that mound. But Hot Stove enthusiasts are sure to wonder which uniform he'll be wearing by the time Seattle returns in August.
FOXSports.com senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal quoted unnamed executives who believe Lee will be traded as soon as the next 7-10 days, following a blueprint used two years ago when the Cleveland Indians traded Lee's former teammate, CC Sabathia.
"All we want to do is go out and win baseball games," Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said Friday. "I can't prevent people from picking up the phone and making a phone call. I even talked to Cliff today, had a nice discussion with him about this. He's mature and understands the process, he's been through it before.
"What's important is that we try to win as many games as we can and see what happens. We've played well lately. Unfortunately the club ahead of us has played a little better. We play good and lose ground. There's a lot of season to be played. If somebody loses a key player here or there, you never know what happens."
The Indians were 13 1/2 games out of first place when they traded Sabathia to the Brewers on July 7, 2008. Seattle entered Saturday 14 games behind white-hot Texas.
B. Sweeney makes Saturday debut
MILWAUKEE -- Brian Sweeney hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2006, so what's two more weeks of waiting? With Seattle facing a bullpen shortage, the right-hander's time finally arrived.
Sweeney, 36, has been with the team since June 15 but hadn't seen a shred of game action until he came into the fifth inning of Saturday's game in Milwaukee. It represented his first Major League appearance since working 37 games for San Diego in 2006. After three seasons in Japan and a strong showing (2.51 ERA in 15 relief appearances) at Triple-A Tacoma, Sweeney's re-appearance has been a long time coming.
"It depends on what's going on with the team," Sweeney said before Saturday's game. "When I first got here, we were winning, and the starters were going a long way ... that's what it's all about. It just wasn't my time. Fourteen days later, it's still not my time. I'm patient enough to wait and I understand when my role comes up, when 'Wak' [manager Don Wakamatsu] is ready to call my name, I just have to prepare for that."
With a recent slew of tight games, the Mariners haven't shown much need for the long relief. But circumstances changed Friday, when the team placed reliever Shawn Kelley on the 15-day disabled list and closer David Aardsma left the team for the rest of the series to be with his pregnant wife. That left Seattle with only five relievers Saturday and, barring a roster move, Sunday as well.
"Maybe the starters go nine innings, you just don't know," Sweeney said. "It's feast or famine. A wise man once told me you could be off for two weeks or pitch every day. I'm prepared for either way."
Doug Fister, making his own return to big league action Saturday after a month on the disabled list, wasn't expected to throw more than 80 pitches in his start in Milwaukee. He went 92 but left after four innings, making way for Sweeney.
"The challenge today is going to be if Fister does get in trouble, do I use [Sweeney] right away or kind of get a couple innings and then use him?" Wakamatsu said before the game. "He hasn't pitched in 13 days, so it's going to be a little bit of a challenge."
Garrett Olson and Chad Cordero both hit the 20-pitch mark in relief Friday, but with the short staff, Wakamatsu didn't have the luxury of declaring them off limits Saturday. He said both would be used in the necessary situation.
"We keep talking about [Sean] White getting back to where he was last year," Wakamatsu said. "He's a guy that's going to have to step up in that bullpen. We'll take today's ballgame and see what happens. If it doesn't go well, we'll probably have to make a [roster] move."
Soccer-minded Wilson late lineup entry
MILWAUKEE -- With one eye on the United States World Cup soccer match against Ghana, Seattle shortstop Jack Wilson went through his daily routine before Saturday's game in Milwaukee.
The soccer enthusiast wasn't initially scheduled to play Saturday but was inserted into the lineup when Mike Sweeney was scratched with a sore back. Josh Wilson, who had been slotted at short, shifted to first base to make way for Jack Wilson.
Jack said he was very excited for the match, which kicked off less than two hours before first pitch against the Brewers.
"I've followed it my whole life, and as the World Cup's gone on, our team has gotten better and better and better," Wilson said. "Even four years for now, we're going to be even better than we are, by far. We have a very good under-21 team, under-18 team, very good players coming up. It's really something that gives people something to root for. It's never going to be a mainstream sport in this country, but it's awesome to see that people are really paying attention.
"People don't know how unbelievably talented these guys are. It's like making one baseball team and going down to play everybody [from other nations]."
Jose Lopez extended his hitting streak to 10 games Saturday, becoming the sixth player in the American League this season with at least two hitting streaks of 10 or more games. ... After four stolen bases Friday, the Mariners have 67 swipes -- on pace for 149 over the full season. That number would rank third best in club history.
JR Radcliffe is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.