Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
February 27, 2008 9:45 AM
Posted by Geoff Baker
A shot, up above (updated at 10:55 a.m.) of today's intrasquad game, which is still going on. Scoreless in the third. That's Phillip Barzilla pitching to Mark Kiger, who ultimately grounds out (next page).
Guest coach Rich Amaral is in camp this morning and he's going to be working on baserunning techniques with some of the regulars. The Mariners, as we've written before, want to be more aggressive on the basepaths this season. Manager John McLaren will spend a good part of the Cactus League identifying who those runners are that can benefit his club by running more.
"I don't want to just run to run,'' he said. "It defeats your purpose when you force things."
McLaren talked about wanting to grab an extra base in crucial situations late. We didn't see a whole lot of that last season from him and I asked him why. He gradually conceded that he was often reluctant to burn his speediest guy off the bench, Willie Bloomquist, because of his versatility. Was hesitant to use him too early, like in the seventh inning, let's say, when another situation could possibly come up in the ninth. That's all part of a manager feeling his way. But also, the presence of Miguel Cairo, a speedy guy, could take that problem away this year. Cairo and Bloomquist can both be used to steal late. So burning one would not negate a similar weapon later on. That's how McLaren sees it.
One of you asked me, in the previous post, about how the catchers were doing with knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. So, the question was also put to McLaren at this morning's session.
Listen to him speak on that topic right here.
Other news today?
Richie Sexson left camp a short while ago, to tend to his young son, who developed what McLaren called "a touch of pneumonia". The Sexson family is staying in Scottsdale. Needless to say, Sexson won't be participating in today's workouts.