Wakamatsu working around injuries

Wakamatsu working around injuries

ST. PETERSBURG -- Don Wakamatsu had to keep looking down at his pad of notes to recite who would be available for Tuesday's game and who wouldn't. The list is getting that convoluted.

Catcher Kenji Johjima returned to the starting lineup for the Mariners as they began their abbreviated two-game series with the Rays at Tropicana Field, but Wakamatsu still has to deal with the reality of a very limited bench this week.

Outfielder Ryan Langerhans was likely unavailable Tuesday after falling awkwardly on a dive and jarring his neck. His replacement in left field was Bill Hall, who's banged up with right quadriceps cramps.

"He's in there laid up pretty good," Wakamatsu said of Langerhans.

Johjima's return after banging up his left knee on Saturday was well-received, since backup catcher Rob Johnson is still recovering from a sprained left ankle and rookie Adam Moore has made only two careers starts. Johnson is expected to be ready to catch Felix Hernandez on Thursday.

Meanwhile, first baseman Russell Branyan is planning to join the team in St. Petersburg on Wednesday as he continues to recover from a herniated disk in his back that's kept him out since Aug. 29.

"He's with his therapist today," Wakamatsu said. "We're hopeful he comes in tomorrow and does some early work. He should be able to take some batting practice tomorrow, which is a good thing."

Zach Schonbrun is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.