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Seattle Mariners' Nelson Cruz will play outfield in Cincinnati

By David Driver, The Sports Xchange
Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/16e8211e1378c2d25b7e8c00be8acb41/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

BALTIMORE -- The Seattle Mariners begin a series Friday in Cincinnati, and Nelson Cruz will play right field for all three weekend games, manager Scott Servais said Thursday.

Cruz is normally the Mariners' designated hitter, but Seattle will be playing under National League rules during the series at Great American Ball Park.

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"Obviously, he's a big part of our lineup," Servais said of Cruz, who was hitting .282 with eight homers and 27 RBIs after Seattle beat the Baltimore Orioles 7-2 Thursday afternoon.

Seth Smith, hitting .240, started in right field on Thursday while Cruz was the DH.

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The probable pitcher for the Mariners on Friday is Hisashi Iwakuma, who is 1-4 with an ERA of 4.38 this year, up from his career ERA of 3.25. It will be the first time he has faced the Reds.

So what works well for Iwakuma?

"A steady mix and control in the zone, mixing it in and out," said Seattle catcher Steve Clevenger, who got the start behind the plate Thursday.

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Felix Hernandez (3-3, 2.47) is slated to start Saturday for the Mariners, with Wade Miley (4-2, 4.32) scheduled for Sunday.

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The Reds will counter, in order, with Dan Straily (2-1, 3.05), John Lamb (0-1, 5.79) and Alfredo Simon (1-4, 10.34).

Seattle is 15-7 on the road after taking two of three in Baltimore to begin the road trip.

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"We have to fight every single game (on the road)," said Leonys Martin, who hit a two-run homer in the ninth Thursday to give Seattle some insurance runs.

Martin had two hits in the game, raising his average to .214.

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