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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 11, 2008 11:54 AM

Will Ichiro get his hit today?

Posted by Jose Romero

The only hitless Mariner in spring training is the team's best hitter, Ichiro. He's in the lineup today against the Colorado Rockies here at historic Hi Corbett Field in Tucson and checks in at a sizzling 0-for-17.

Manager John McLaren was asked about Richie Sexson today and reiterated his and his staff's belief that Sexson will turn it around this season.

"Last year was kinda like Murphy's Law, everything went wrong," McLaren said. "Injury, swinging at bad pitches, fans getting on him. You name it, it happened. With that said, it's behind him."

Does publicly expressing confidence in Sexson increase his own confidence?

"You'd have to ask him," McLaren said. "I hope it did. Richie plays hurt. He played with some injuries. He got hit in Kansas City good (in a game last July) He got hit in the thumb, and he wanted to play in Oakland...he's such a competitor and you appreciate that. He's still strong. He's still got youth on his side. No reason why this guy can't put up big numbers. No reason at all."

Let's go to the lineups for today, my last day covering spring training, as far as I have been told. Geoff Baker returns to the blogosphere fired up, I'm sure, and recharged, so let me say thanks for making me and this a part of your day. Thanks to everyone for the comments, kind or otherwise. One must appreciate the passion.

Con ganas y safos...

Mariners at Rockies
March 11, 2008

Seattle Mariners (5-7):

51 Ichiro Suzuki CF
16 Willie Bloomquist 2B
28 Raul Ibanez LF
44 Richie Sexson 1B
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
6 Brad Wilkerson RF
13 Miguel Cairo SS
15 Jamie Burke C
34 Felix Hernandez RHP
* No DH today

Other Pitchers:
18 Ryan Rowland-Smith LHP
20 J.J. Putz RHP
48 Roy Corcoran RHP
62 Cesar Jimenez LHP
76 Brodie Downs RHP
79 Phillippe Aumont RHP

Colorado Rockies (6-6-1)

3 Willy Taveras CF
2 Troy Tulowitzki SS
17 Todd Helton 1B
5 Matt Holliday LF
27 Garrett Atkins 3B
19 Ryan Spilborghs RF
22 Marcus Giles 2B
20 Chris Iannetta C
26 Jeff Francis LHP

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Posted by ethan

12:00 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Hey did you guys hear?? In late August the Mariners are holding "BILL BAVASI NIGHT." Everyone shaves their head and comically signs to the roster a flaming paper bag filled with dog crap for $20 million.
I hope I get a Shih-Tzu's!!

Posted by Ben

12:04 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Looks like we're bringing the major league lineup today - hitters anyway.

Felix vs Jeff Francis - should be a nice matchup. I think it is pretty sad that with the state of basketball these days, i get much more joy following mariners spring training... i think this is one of the first years i have actually looked at what everyone is doing at this point... how sad (or nice i suppose for the mariners).

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

12:06 PM, Mar 11, 2008

The M's should have kept Adam Jones and let Ichiro walk in free agency. Suzuki has slowed down every year since 2001. All his skills and bat speed slowed and now he needs to make an adjustment to be ready in a few weeks. I have little doubt he will be fine by opening day. Yet, the organization will be paying his salary until 2032 for non-power hitting player and regret the decision of extending him.

Posted by Frank Rizzo

12:23 PM, Mar 11, 2008

"The M's should have kept Adam Jones and let Ichiro walk in free agency. Suzuki has slowed down every year since 2001. All his skills and bat speed slowed and now he needs to make an adjustment to be ready in a few weeks. I have little doubt he will be fine by opening day. Yet, the organization will be paying his salary until 2032 for non-power hitting player and regret the decision of extending him."

Resin - What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this website is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Just thought I would throw some humor out there. But I still feel you are wrong!

Posted by SeaHokie

12:24 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Hmmm, maybe a change in SeaTimes reporters is what Ichiro needs ;^)

Thanks for the coverage, Geoff. Hope you had fun

Posted by AussieJohn

12:29 PM, Mar 11, 2008

The Mariners would have been FOOLS to let Ichiro walk in free agency. If they didn't think they were going to be able to extend his contract, prior to him becoming a free agent, they would have traded him for as many prospects as possible. Since 2001 he has broken or tied Mariners club records, and major league records in hitting. I don't see any evidence from Ichiro that suggests a 'slow down.'

Posted by K-Man

12:32 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Bwaaaaahahahaha! Good one, Resin! You crack me up, dude!

Posted by scottM

12:32 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Resin, the thing about Ichiro's value is twofold.

One, as long as his speed holds up for defense and getting on base, he can lose fifty points on his batting average and still be a valuable contributor to the M's. For him, age is deceiving. At 34 he's in better condition than Jose Lopez at age 23. He plays much younger than his years.

Secondly, Ichiro's value to the M's and the Seattle area is greater than his salary. He's a one man economic stimulus package. How many Japanese tourists, who would not otherwise come to Seattle, travel here because of Ichiro's presence? To the M's, how much is the television contract in Japan worth to the team because of Ichiro? More than his spread out salary I'll bet. No other player on the M's is nearly the fan draw that Ichiro is (until we sign Griffey in '09). Remember, as a FA last year, Ichiro could have signed for more elsewhere.

I worry about Sexson's and Ibanez's decline far more than I worry about Ichiro's. In fact, ST numbers notwithstanding, he is likely the least of the team's concerns this season.

Posted by AKMarinersFans

12:42 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Ben - Willie and Cairo are not major league hitters.

Posted by higbie

12:50 PM, Mar 11, 2008

can someone please explain to my naive self again why cairo will making the team along with bloomquist. one of those guys is more than enough garbage on one bench

Posted by MissoulaMarinerFan

1:01 PM, Mar 11, 2008

I can understand why for WillieB, but as far as for Cairo, my only guess is that, "He's been through the wars." :-D

Posted by Ben

1:02 PM, Mar 11, 2008

AK - agreed. well.. sort of. They are technically major leaguers... whether they play like it or not is another thing all together.

Willie has heart and all that, i suppose. And you need a utility guy to fill in for various people a la Mark Maclemore... but having both of them seems a bit absurd.

Morse should replace Cairo and Reed should be our other guy up. Morse has been hitting so well in spring and he's out of options - so it seems like they should at least give him a shot to see if his spring numbers actually mean anything.

Posted by Lance

1:02 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Can someone explain to me why Hi Corbett Field is historic?

Posted by Lance

1:08 PM, Mar 11, 2008

higbie - the answer is they're veterans. Not saying I agree with that logic.

I believe the thinking is by having Cairo Bloomquist can be utilized earlier in a game. Or, vice-versa.

Posted by alfrulz

1:13 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Great Job Jose! Dont know much about you, but I hope you are a staff writer, you do(did)and EXCELLENT job covering the M's.
I will miss your reports on the blog, but hope you can get some copy space this summer!

Go M's

Posted by Lance

1:20 PM, Mar 11, 2008

alf - yes, ditto your comments.

So you know, Jose primarily covers the Seahawks. Of course, why the Seattle Times uses someone named Jose Romero to cover the Seahawks is anybody's guess.

Oh, boy! Sexson hits opposite-field home run! 1-0 M's.

Posted by Ben

1:22 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Also - how can someone say that Ichiro has declined each year? the guy his .351 last year! He was one of the top hitters for average in the AL.

His last 3 years BA:
2005 - .303
2006 - .322
2007 - .351

He averaged just about 111 runs over those 3 years (111, 110, 111 runs respectively). And he stole plenty of bases (33, 45, 37 SBs respectively).

The guy is pretty much a consistent great leadoff hitter for us.

Posted by mark

1:23 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Cairo is a terrible pickup! He is going to kill this team in more ways than one. He's going to eat up a roster spot that should go to one of the younger and more talented players. I still cannot fathom having him on a major league roster without making him prove ANYTHING! Can't hit, can't field and isn't as fast as they'd like to make him out to be.

It hurts because I love them so much...

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:37 PM, Mar 11, 2008

Felix is great! Let's start a pool on what McLaren's comment will be regarding Sexson's home run.

My guess is "Richie showed us today why we need him in the lineup".

Posted by Nick in pdx

2:57 PM, Mar 11, 2008

"Looks like we're bringing the major league lineup today - hitters anyway"

Yup, all 4 of 'em.

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