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05/08/10 9:30 PM ET

Mariners OK with no lefties in 'pen

SEATTLE -- The names of the seven members of the Mariners' bullpen are positioned symmetrically on the same side of the daily lineup card -- the right side. A little over a month into the 2010 season, Seattle is going without a southpaw relief pitcher.

Closer David Aardsma, setup men Shawn Kelley and Brandon League, and situational relievers Ian Snell, Kanekoa Texeira, Sean White and Jesus Colome are all righties. So is regular setup man Mark Lowe, who's on the 15-day disabled list with an injured back.

But when bullpen coach John Wetteland looked at the stats entering Saturday's game, he saw that lefties were hitting .188 against Aardsma, .217 against League .208 against Texeira. That was good enough for him.

"You don't need to have a lefty in the 'pen just because it's obvious that lefties do well against lefty hitters," Wetteland said. "The point is that power arms usually do well against left-handers. There's weapons to use if you know how to use them. It's a matter of matching up your strengths.

"And then if you have a good sinker and you locate it well, it's going to be hard to hit. And we have both of those types in our bullpen. It always comes down to who's throwing well and who's getting outs, lefty or righty."

Wakamatsu: No issue with Felix's back

SEATTLE -- Felix Hernandez has gone two starts without a win, including Friday night's 8-0 loss to the Angels in which the Mariners' ace gave up three home runs and departed after a season-low 3 1/3 innings.

Hernandez had back stiffness in last Sunday's outing, so it was natural to wonder if his back was acting up again Friday in the chilly night air of Safeco Field.

Not so, according to Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu.

"We checked with Felix about the back issues, and there was nothing," Wakamatsu said on Saturday afternoon. "[Pitching coach] Rick [Adair] is working on some mechanical issues, and we'll address those, but the back was not a factor last night."

So what was it?

"I don't think it's emotions," Wakamatsu said. "I saw it in the game before last when he had the stiff back and all of a sudden [his pitches] just weren't consistent. I thought coming out of Spring Training that he was as good as I've seen him. I think he's regressed a little bit for whatever reason."

Wakamatsu said one thing he noticed during Friday's start was that Hernandez featured "about eight deliveries."

"When he got frustrated out there, I thought he tried to create things, and that's what you don't see in him," Wakamatsu said. "You see a lot more consistency. Just the action of his pitches, to me, was different. It's evident when you give up that many extra base hits -- especially him -- and very little strikeouts."

Wilson, Lowe progressing from injuries

SEATTLE -- Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said shortstop Jack Wilson, who is experiencing discomfort in his right knee, is still not a candidate for the disabled list and the club still could use him in an emergency.

"It's not progressing as fast as we hope," Wakamatsu said, "but the target date is now probably Tuesday."

As for reliever Mark Lowe, who's on the DL with and injured back, Wakamatsu said the right-hander was "feeling much better" on Saturday.

"We're hoping he'll stay back and join us in Oakland," Wakamatsu said. "We'll see if we can get a bullpen in there."

The two-game series against the A's begins on May 17 and Lowe could be activated from the DL the following night.

Worth noting

When Ichiro Suzuki grounded into a double play on Sunday against the Rangers, it was the first time he had done that since April 15 of last year, a span of 736 at-bats without a GIDP. That is the longest stretch without a GIDP since Tony Womack had a 918 at-bat streak from May 30, 1997-Aug. 4, 1998. Ichiro's streak is the third-longest of its kind, dating back to 1920. ... The Mariners' bullpen worked 5 2/3 hitless innings in Friday night's loss, with Jesus Colome (2 2/3 innings), Brandon League (one inning) and Kanekoa Texeira (two innings) combined to allow zero hits and three walks while striking out five. It's the 10th time in club history that the bullpen pitched five or more hitless frames.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.