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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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February 25, 2008 1:25 PM

Sights and Sounds: bunt contest

Posted by Geoff Baker

Many of you have written in saying how much you like the bunt drills. Well, the Mariners have a bunting contest going right now. Manager John McLaren has challenged his players to successfully bunt a series of pitches into two small circles positioned just in front of home plate and off to the left and right. Each player gets three rounds of 10 pitches. They have to push six balls out of 30 into the circles. Some high-end golf balls are at stake. It's not easy. The ground is very hard and the balls are tough to deaden.

And not all of the guys you'll see qualify as bunting experts. It starts with Adrian Beltre, then Richie Sexson. Later, you'll see McLaren, who wants some golf balls in a bad way, arguing with Yuniesky Betancourt. The chatty shortstop keeps pleading for a couple of practice rounds. McLaren finally relents, probably because Betancourt is a machine gun of a talker. Kenji Johjima, Jose Lopez and Ichiro also take turns bunting.

Betancourt nailed two bunts his first two times up, then no more. Raul Ibanez wound up winning the challenge today. Ichiro did it yesterday.

The video of players' haircuts didn't turn out any better than the photos. So, I left that out.

But we have some additional photos to show you. Here is Mercer Island's own Sean White.

haircut 007.jpg

He's feeling a bit squirrely about his cut, which isn't surprising if you see it from a rear view, like down below.

haircut 009.jpg

Sorry, no more Ryan Rowland-Smith. He's already shaved the mullet off. And yes, to the reader who asked, his head was cropped very close underneath the cap. So, the hair sticking out back was about all that was left on his head. Looked ridiculous.

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