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Branyan, Lopez unlikely to return this season

Branyan, Lopez unlikely to return this season

SEATTLE -- The big Mariners news on Thursday was that Felix Hernandez wouldn't play again in 2010, but the same can probably be said for third baseman Jose Lopez and first baseman Russell Branyan.

Lopez, who dislocated the middle finger on his right hand while trying to field a ground ball on Tuesday night, was still sore on Thursday, although he told interim manager Daren Brown that he might be able to fulfill the designated-hitter duties against the A's on Saturday or Sunday, the final two games of the year.

"I think that might be a little optimistic on his part," Brown said. "We'll see how he feels. He won't take [batting practice] today. He's still wearing the splint. It's black and blue. Playing the field won't happen. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, if he feels good about playing DH Saturday or Sunday, we'll see how he feels tomorrow."

As for Branyan, who has been out for more than a week with a sore lower back, Brown said the slugger would see a doctor Thursday evening and that, like with Lopez, the chance of having the players aggravate the injuries is probably not worth the potential benefits they would add to the final games of a disappointing season.

"He's feeling better," Brown said of Branyan, who has had back issues throughout his career. "With his history, I know the question is, 'Will he play?' We only have four games left. We'll see what the doctor says. But this late in the year, unless something dramatic happens, he hasn't seen live pitching in a while, it becomes the same risk-reward type thing. What's the risk, what's the reward?

"I know there's a lot of guys on the lineup card," Brown added, "but not a lot of guys available."

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