SEATTLE John McLaren is the latest member of the Mariners to get cut loose. He probably won't be the last.
On the day McLaren was fired as manager, Seattle executives said they agree with franchise cornerstone Ichiro Suzuki that players should also be jettisoned from the team with the worst record in the majors.
After beginning the year with playoff expectations, the Mariners are now in the midst of a lost season. They fired general manager Bill Bavasi this week and followed by dismissing McLaren on Thursday.
Bench coach Jim Riggleman was promoted to run the team. He became Seattle's fifth manager in six seasons.
"We hadn't shown any improvement for the last couple of months. In fact, we were probably regressing," interim GM Lee Pelekoudas said. "To give the players a chance to improve ... we thought a different voice was needed."The Mariners are 25-47, 17 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Angels in the AL West.
ZAMBRANO TO MISS START: Chicago Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano will miss his next scheduled start because of shoulder trouble and will undergo an MRI exam Friday. Zambrano left Wednesday night's game at Tampa Bay because of discomfort in his right shoulder. He was examined Thursday in Chicago by team orthopedist Dr. Stephen Gryzlo.Zambrano is 8-3 with a 3.13 ERA in 16 starts for the NL Central leaders had been set to pitch Tuesday night at home against Baltimore. Left-hander Sean Marshall could be recalled from Triple-A Iowa to pitch against the Orioles in place of Zambrano.
INDIANS ACQUIRE FASANO: Looking for depth behind the plate following Victor Martinez's injury, the Cleveland Indians acquired catcher Sal Fasano from the Atlanta Braves on Thursday for a player to be named. The 36-year-old Fasano was hitting .193 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 26 games with Atlanta's Triple-A Richmond affiliate. He was a non-roster invitee to spring training with the Toronto Blue Jays before being given his unconditional release on March 25. Fasano signed a minor league deal with Atlanta on April 4.
HAFNER WORKS ON STRENGTH: Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner was advised by renowned orthopedist Dr. James Andrews to continue with a strengthening program, rather than surgery, for his ailing right shoulder. "Dr. Andrews was very straight forward," Indians head trainer Lonnie Soloff said. "He didn't think surgery would help his condition. He is doing isometric exercises, stability exercises, lifting weights." Hafner has been on the disabled list since May 30 with a sore shoulder. He got a second opinion Wednesday from Andrews, who agreed with the Indians' Dr. Mark Schickendantz that Hafner needs continued strengthening of the rotator cuff and shoulder girdle.
RAYS SIGN NO. 1 PICK: Tim Beckham used one word to describe how it felt to walk into the Tampa Bay Rays clubhouse and spot a jersey with his name on the back hanging in a locker next to established major leaguers. "Sweet," the talented high school shortstop from Griffin, Ga., said Thursday. It took the Rays just two weeks to sign the No. 1 pick in this month's baseball draft. Beckham agreed to a contract that includes a $6.15 million signing bonus.
He will join older brother Jeremy a second baseman selected in the 17th round in beginning his pro career with Tampa Bay's Rookie League affiliate in Princeton, W.Va.