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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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March 4, 2008 9:28 AM

Road trip...to Phoenix

Posted by Jose Romero

Today I head south to Phoenix for today's game against the A's. But first, the skipper (John McLaren) had his morning briefing.

By the way, former M's catcher Dan Wilson has arrived in camp. He's here for some instructional work with the catchers. Jay Buhner is still around as well.

McLaren started by talking about watching Cubs manager Lou Piniella from the Mariners' dugout during yesterday's spring training game. He admitted peeking at the signs a little bit and laughed about it, signs he probably knows well from all his years with Piniella.

After the game, McLaren went out for dinner with Lee Elia, Wilson, Buhner and others, and they told "10 years worth" of stories from the days with Piniella.

McLaren was then asked about Richie Sexson and the fans' reaction to his struggles last season. Does he think fans are more apt to boo bad performances in the age of Internet and high salaries and expectations?

"Good question," McLaren said. "All I can say is, I know there are certain cities, New York comes to mind right off, where they don't care who you are. If you're not doing what they think you should be doing, they let you know about it. Of course there's Boston and Philadelphia and I think they're from the same school of thought.

"You hear boos every now and then in the home park, and you wonder what's going on. Especially somebody that's a established player and whatever. It's part of the game. It's not a good feeling but it's part of the game."

On to some news of the day:
-DH Jose Vidro will not be rushed back, and isn't likely to play before Friday. Jeff Clement will get a few at-bats as DH in games, McLaren said. Clement is in the starting lineup at DH against Oakland today. Vidro felt something during extra batting practice one day, kept swinging and aggravated the pain in his right elbow.

-P Anderson Garcia is to have an MRI on his arm injury today. Injured IF/C Brant Ust also had an MRI for his back spasms.

-Kenji Johjima will start at catcher today so he can work on catching the knuckleball from R.A. Dickey, who is scheduled to pitch today in relief. Johjima will also catch starting pitcher Erik Bedard tomorrow.

-T.J. Nakagawa, an intern trainer with the club, was the featured performer in the daily "Mariners Idol," when a young player or employee has to sing or do something in front of everyone in the clubhouse. Nakagawa, who went to Arkansas for college, drew rave reviews for leading the group in the Razorbacks' traditional chant of "Whoo Pig, Sooey!!!"

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