Johjima gets practice at first base

Johjima gets practice at first base

SEATTLE -- Kenji Johjima has been seen taking a few practice ground balls at first base lately, a slightly different position from his normal spot behind the plate.

With the addition of Jeff Clement and manager John McLaren's statement that the youngster will get plenty of games at catcher, Johjima could be seeing less time in his normal position. That said, McLaren doesn't seem to think first base is the answer for him.

"We're just kind of getting him a few ground balls and such," the manager said. "I'm not sure about that, probably not. I would think we can DH him some, and he'll catch some, too."

Johjima said the difference between catcher and first base is large, and he also highlighted the symbolic location of his first-base mitt, which was sitting in an empty locker next to his.

"I've been told to take ground balls at first base, as well, so I won't be surprised with whatever happens during the game," he said. "But I consider myself a catcher -- that's why that first-base mitt is not in my locker."

Johjima said he worked at first base for a few games in Japan and also mentioned that he has "pride in my red [catcher's] mitt."

Other Mariners, like Jeremy Reed, also have taken grounders at first as the Mariners get set to embark on a nine-game Interleague road trip.

"We just had [Johjima] take some ground balls, and I don't know where it's going, if it's going anywhere," McLaren said. "We're playing National League clubs, and we're ... preparing for anything and Joh's still a catcher. We're not thinking about switching positions or anything, we just had him take ground balls."

Interleague record: 110-92 overall, 3-5 in 2008

2008 Interleague Schedule

• May 16 at Padres: Lost, 6-4
• May 17 at Padres: Won, 4-2
• May 18 at Padres: Won, 3-2
• June 13 vs. Nationals: Lost, 7-6
• June 14 vs. Nationals: Lost, 5-2 • June 15 vs. Nationals: Lost, 6-2
• June 16 vs. Marlins: Lost, 6-1
• June 17 vs. Marlins: Won, 5-4
• June 18 vs. Marlins
• June 20 at Atlanta
• June 21 at Atlanta
• June 22 at Atlanta
• June 23 at Mets
• June 24 at Mets
• June 25 at Mets
• June 27 at Padres
• June 28 at Padres
• June 29 at Padres

Pitching matchup
SEA: RHP R.A. Dickey (1-2, 4.71 ERA)
After numerous effective performances out of the bullpen this year, R.A. Dickey did not fare so well when joining the rotation on Friday against the Nationals. In just 1 2/3 innings, he gave up eight hits and seven earned runs as Seattle was forced to go to the bullpen early. He didn't have the feel for his knuckleball during the game, but he'll get another shot against the Marlins. Left-handers are struggling with Dickey this season, hitting just .200 compared to .345 by right-handers.

FLA: RHP Ryan Tucker (1-1, 5.40 ERA)
Tucker has started only two games in his extremely young Major League career. The 21-year-old struggled his last time out against the Rays and gave up five earned runs in five innings. However, he walked only three after issuing five free passes in his Major League debut on June 8. The Tampa Bay struggles came on the road, while his first start was an effective one at home against Cincinnati.

When Ichiro Suzuki beat out an infield hit Monday, it was his 15th of that kind this season. That gave him 361 infield hits since 2001, which tied him with Juan Pierre for the Major League lead during that time span. More than 20 percent of Ichiro's career hits have been infield ones. ... Felix Hernandez tied a club record by going three consecutive starts without giving up an earned run before allowing one in the second inning on Tuesday. ... After striking out 13 hitters and winning Tuesday's game, Seattle has lost nine of its past 11 games when the pitching staff strikes out 13 or more hitters, including Monday's loss against the Marlins.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
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Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Mariners (Erik Bedard, 4-4, 4.14) at Braves (Jorge Campillo, 2-1, 2.17), 4:30 p.m. PT
• Saturday: Mariners (Jarrod Washburn, 2-7, 5.83) at Braves (Jair Jurrjens, 7-3, 3.43), 4 p.m. PT

Jesse Baumgartner is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.