With Benny Looper changing jobs, the Mariners plan to go without one of their top baseball executive positions, vice president of player development and scouting.
Looper, who has been with the club 10 years, will move to his first love, hands-on scouting.
"We'll leave the actual position vacant," Seattle general manager Bill Bavasi said.
Bavasi said Frank Mattox, director of player development, has been filling in as farm director, one of Looper's duties.
"And we've got Pedro [Grifol] as field coordinator," he said. "So we're covered there."
With this offseason looming importantly as Seattle attempts to rebuild after a third straight losing season, Looper is expected to play a major part in talent evaluations inside and outside the Mariners' organization.
"He will be doing a lot more pro scouting, including the major-league level," Bavasi said. "He's going to see major-leaguers and minor-leaguers."
Looper joined the Mariners in 1987 as a part-time scout and worked his way up the organization. He took the front-office job in 1997 at the behest of former scouting director Roger Jongewaard, but Looper's heart was always with scouting.
Meche has tendinitis
Despite trade suspicions raised when Gil Meche was backed off his scheduled Tuesday start for the Mariners, it turns out the right-hander had been having problems with a tendon in his forearm.
"It was a touch of tendinitis," trainer Rick Griffin said. "He played catch today and feels a lot better. He should be able to make his next start."
Meche is scheduled to pitch Saturday at Safeco Field against Boston.
Johjima sits again
Kenji Johjima did not start behind the plate last night, the first time this season the Mariners' catcher has not started three consecutive games. Backup catcher Rene Rivera started against the Yankees.
Johjima seemingly was upset and confused, and met with manager Mike Hargrove to discuss the situation.
"This has nothing to do with being upset at Johjima," Hargrove said, "and everything to do with getting Rene Rivera into more games. Johjima will start Thursday."
Cha Seung Baek started for Seattle on Tuesday, "and Rivera knows him and has caught him before, and Johjima didn't know him," the manager said.
Felix Hernandez started last night and Rivera has been behind the plate for some of the youngster's better games this year.
"Joh [Johjima] is our regular catcher," Hargrove said. "This is just a chance to get Rivera into games."
Hargrove explained all this to Johjima.
"Among other things, we like his bat in the lineup," the manager said. "He's really been a good hitter for us."
Johjima leads the club with a .339 average in August, third among American League catchers for the month.
• The Mariners have fired Glenn Adams, their minor-league hitting coordinator the past six years. Adams, a .280 hitter in eight big-league seasons, previously coached hitters in the Cubs' and Twins' farm systems.
• Going into last night's game, Richie Sexson's 11 homers since the All-Star break were tied for the lead among AL first basemen. Mark Teixeira of Texas also had 11. The Yankees' Jason Giambi had nine.
• Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was scratched from manager Joe Torre's starting lineup because of a sore throat. Rodriguez left Safeco Field before the game and returned to the team hotel.
• New York outfielder Hideki Matsui, on the disabled list with a broken left wrist, hit 40 balls off a batting tee yesterday. He is on schedule to return in mid-September.