M's Ready for All-Star Break

Manager John McLaren had shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt in his original lineup Sunday, but Betancourt had to sit the game out because of some back stiffness. In his place, Willie Bloomquist moved to shortstop for the day. Add Betancourt to the list of Seattle players for whom the three-day All-Star break will be a time of healing.

Others include Raul Ibanez (hamstring), Richie Sexson (left thumb, left foot), Adrian Beltre (thumb and leg) and Kenji Johjima (hand). "The All-Star break is going to do us good," manager John McLaren said. "We've got a chance to get a bunch of guys back to 100 percent."

McLaren had the option of holding a Wednesday workout before play resumes against the Tigers on Thursday, but he won't because "I think the rest does more good than the workout would."

MARINERS 7, ATHLETICS 3: Outfielder Jason Ellison, who wasn't supposed to start, not only got a career-high four hits, but he helped to ignite a classic baseball brawl when he challenged Joe Blanton after the 6-3, 250-pound Blanton pushed Seattle All-Star center fielder Ichiro Suzuki out of the way in his pursuit of a loose ball in Seattle's 7-3 win.

Both benches emptied and Blanton and right-hander Miguel Batista were ejected from the game, which was delayed for about 20 minutes before the umpiring crew could get things sorted out. Ellison was only in the lineup because Ichiro was scheduled for a day of designated hitting duty and Willie Bloomquist, who was supposed to fill in in center, instead was called on when shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt's back gave out.


--OF Jason Ellison had a career-best four hits Sunday, but he'll probably best remember the day as one in which he helped start a bench-clearing shoving match between the Mariners and the A's. Ellison took exception to A's RHP Joe Blanton shoving CF Ichiro Suzuki out of the way in his pursuit of an overthrown ball. Both Blanton and Mariner RHP Miguel Batista were ejected.

--SS Yuniesky Betancourt was in the original starting lineup, but was scratched because of a sore back Sunday at Oakland. UT Willie Bloomquist played in his stead. Betancourt was able to play defense in the ninth inning and said his back wouldn't be a long-term problem.

--LHP George Sherrill, who threw a shutout inning of relief Sunday, finished the first half of the season with 13 consecutive scoreless appearances covering eight innings total. Three times in the series against Oakland he pitched one full inning. Under former manager Mike Hargrove, Sherrill generally got just one or two outs in the eighth inning.

--RF Jose Guillen seems to be warming up. He had three hits Sunday and has five multiple-hit games since the calendar turned to July, and three of those are three-hit performances. He also had his second and third stolen bases of the season Sunday.

--CF Ichiro Suzuki had a single and a triple and scored twice Sunday, giving him 128 hits and 61 runs scored before the All-Star break. A year ago, he had 129 hits at the break.

BY THE NUMBERS: 14 of 18 -- Number of games the Mariners won down the stretch leading up to the All-Star break.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I didn't throw any punches, but I was ready to. We're all competitors and in a situation like that, we would all agree that you have to stick up for your teammates and Ichiro wasn't going to say anything." -- OF Jason Ellison on getting in the face of Oakland RHP Joe Blanton Sunday after Blanton pushed Ichiro out of the way to get to a loose ball.



SS Yuniesky Betancourt (sore back) was held out of the starting lineup on July 8, but was able to play the ninth inning and shouldn't miss time after the All-Star break.

1B Richie Sexson (sore right thumb) didn't play July 3-4 but was back in the lineup July 5. He was out again July 6 with a left foot but played in the series finale against Oakland on July 8.

C Kenji Johjima (right hand contusion) left the game July 3 and didn't play July 4. He returned to the lineup July 5.

RHP Cha Seung Baek (shoulder) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 17.

RHP Chris Reitsma (sore right elbow) went on the disabled list June 11. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Tacoma on July 1 and was activated on July 6.

RHP Jon Huber (elbow) went on the disabled list retroactive to June 7. He threw on the side July 3.

RHP Sean White (right biceps tendinitis) went on the disabled list June 2. He threw his first bullpen session June 27.

LHP Horacio Ramirez (left shoulder tightness) went on the disabled list May 25. He threw his first bullpen session June 19. He threw a 50-pitch simulated game June 25. He started an injury rehabilitation assignment June 30, pitching for Class AAA Tacoma. He's expected to make at least three rehab starts before being activated, so he's not likely to return until after the All-Star break.

RHP Mark Lowe (right elbow) had a second surgery on the elbow this spring, a move designed to remove scar tissue. He began a rehab assignment with Class AAA Tacoma on July 3.

LHP Arthur Rhodes (left elbow) went on the disabled list retroactive to April 1. He had Tommy John surgery on May 2, and he is out for the season.

LHP Cesar Jimenez (stress fracture in left elbow) opened the season on the 60-day disabled list. He began a minor league rehab assignment in late June.

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