SEATTLE -- The Mariners celebrated two occasions on Sunday. The first was Jackie Robinson Day. The second was that after the matinee against the Oakland A's, they won't play that team again until June 25.
Several players expressed humor-tinged relief about getting a break from a club they've played seven times in the first 11 regular-season games and in two different countries (the United States and Japan), three different cities (Oakland, Seattle and Tokyo), not to mention occasionally running into each other during the six weeks of Spring Training. There was no acrimony intended, but the Mariners seemed to indicate that it will be good to see more of the American League.
"Geez, I feel like we've played them every game so far," first baseman Justin Smoak said with a smile. "And we've had ... what? Three Opening Days with them so far? One in Japan, one in Oakland and one here. So it's going to be nice not to see them for a while. It's just one of those things.
"Uncle, you know? How many times can you play a team in two weeks? Now, we get to face some other guys and give them a rest for a little while."
Shortstop Brendan Ryan likened the scheduling oddity to when he was a member of the St. Louis Cardinals and his team was constantly seeing the Marlins, who shared their Spring Training complex in Jupiter, Fla.
"You got real sick of seeing the same pitchers," said Ryan. "But as a hitter, you get real familiar with the pitchers and what they've got. So you kind of like that aspect of it, so it works two ways.
"But to get charged up and go battle against a different lineup, that's always welcome, too. Some variety [is] always good, just to get the adrenaline going differently."