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."
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.
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.