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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 13, 2008 4:24 PM

More on Ichiro, Washburn

Posted by Geoff Baker

bigisland08 038.jpg

Mariners manager John McLaren was down on the field answering questions a few moments ago, his team having played to a 3-3 tie with the San Francisco Giants.

"Jarrod started off a little slow,'' he said of starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn, who allowed two runs -- only one earned -- over five innings. "But he got his rhythm, got his tempo, really threw the ball stronger every inning he was out there.''

On Mike Morse, who went 3-for-3 and upped his spring average to .581: "He's hitting the ball well. He's got a nice stroke going and has done a good job.''

McLaren playfully suggested he'd sleep better now that Ichiro finally has his first hit of spring training. Told about Ichiro's quip about sending the baseball to Cooperstown, McLaren deadpanned:

"They'll take it, believe me.''

Hear some McLaren audio right here.

bigisland08 041.jpg

Giants pitcher Kevin Correia said he was well aware of Ichiro's 0-for-21 spring slump heading into the game.

"People were joking with me,'' he said. "I said 'This guy gets 300 hits a year and hasn't gotten a hit yet and I've got to face him tomorrow.' Guys were saying 'Oh, infield hit, guaranteed, first time'. He can run. He deserves those hits.''

Didn't look like he'd get today's hit, though. Not until first baseman Justin Leone broke off his bag on what appeared to be a routine grounder to second. Correia was slow to cover.

"First, I stood there because it looked like a regular ground ball to the second baseman,'' Correia said. "First thing that crossed my mind when I started running was, 'There's no way I'm beating this guy over there.' I think I might have gotten there before him, but I didn't get the ball quickly enough. It's not the position you want to be in with Ichiro running.''

How about Washburn picking off a pair of runners? Not exactly known for that stuff. Any new off-season additions to his move? Uh-no.

"It's young guys who don't know any better,'' he said. "You look at them and you can tell they're going every time.''

Hear more of Washburn right here.

Today's late-game situations seemed tailor-made for a pinch-runner like Willie Bloomquist. But he is apparently nursing a tight quad muscle and won't play in any games until Saturday. That's about it for now. I'll leave you all with the photo below, of Jeremy Reed leaving the dugout. Reed and Juan Diaz had a rough ninth inning, getting thrown out on steal attempts at second base at a time when they each represented the winning run.

bigisland08 042.jpg


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Posted by Chris from Bothell

5:11 PM, Mar 13, 2008

Wow, Reed's put on weight. And catcher's gear. And Kenji's face. ;)

Posted by Get Griffey

5:11 PM, Mar 13, 2008

Wrong pic Geoff, thatís Jo saying peace.

Posted by steve

5:23 PM, Mar 13, 2008

Ok... Let the Reed bashing begin...

Posted by fortheloveofsexson

5:26 PM, Mar 13, 2008

Geoff -- can you give us an update on Richie Sexson. Why has everyone been so silent on how he is doing. His "comeback" is critical to any chance for the M's to succeed this year.

Posted by Patrick F.

6:25 PM, Mar 13, 2008

I'd like to see Mike Morse on the roster. This team can automatically be better without HoRam. I'm quite glad he got released. Is there anyway we can get Soriano back now? Joking of course.

Posted by ak-rowdy

8:31 PM, Mar 13, 2008

Geoff, I haven't checked in a few days so you or Jose may have addressed this, but how is Wilkerson feeling health wise. He seems to be hitting well based upon the box score and it would be nice if he could come close to Guillen's numbers from last year.

Posted by oregongal

8:31 PM, Mar 13, 2008

Nooooo!!! I want the picture of Kenji!

Posted by Steve

11:11 PM, Mar 13, 2008

"Go Ramirez..." Weaver..., "Incredible Make-up" Comment... Can't wait for Bavasi to show his inner-insanity and be stupid enough to ship Dickey out of town. Yeah, but non-roster... I know what you are thinking... "Maybe I'd sign him if he was half as good and 12x as expensive... Just, only if he's towards the end of his effectiveness..." Bavasi's job security is proof of how far reality and logic "by the gut", old school scouting and nepotism are away from wins, the post season and building a strong franchise. He's on a short leash... I am certain he'll continue to screw us with 'his' Dickey.

Posted by Merrill

2:22 AM, Mar 14, 2008

WARNING! SELF-PROMOTIONAL CRAP AHEAD! PLEASE DO NOT READ IT IF YOU DON'T WANT ANY TO GET ON YOU! (AND DON'T COME WHININ' TO ME IF YOU DO!)

Donovan, thanks for the AFK explanation. Jose did a great job, but Geoff's obviously rested and rarin' to go!

Speaking of which, anyone else as disturbed as me by the sadness in that Japanese tech's (or reporter's) face? (near the center of the Mac pic, up top.) You can be sure he hasn't gotten any 2-week vacations lately. Not that you haven't earned your perks, Geoff, but North Americans and Western Europeans really inhabit a world apart.

Count your blessings, people.

Oregongal, it wasn't until I read your post that I remembered Jane Curtain's intro of Garrett "Chico Escuela" Morris. My baseball history knowledge is woefully inadequate.

I agree with your assessment of his, um, "funniness." But it was the whole show, really. For all their legendary quality in retrospect, they were rarely funny at the time. I could always count on Weekend Update and maybe one other laugh the entire show. Two at most. (Surely that has nothing to do with Curtain--and maybe Radner?--being the only sober one on the show???)

But o, they were good laughs. ("Bones, whip up some pancakes!" "I'm a doctor, Jim, not Aunt Jemima"!)

Posted by Merrill

3:15 AM, Mar 14, 2008

ak-rowdy, that's a good question. Based on last year's numbers, when he nearly matched Guillen's power in slightly more than half of the at-bats, I think we can expect +10 HRs from him if healthy, but likely 20-40 points less average.

2007 AB/2B/HR/RBI/BB/OBP/SLG/AVG

Guillen: 593/28/23/99/41/.353/.460/.290

Wilkerson: 338/17/20/62/43/.319/.467/.234

BB/AB: Wilkerson: .127; Guillen: .0691

2B/AB: Wilkerson: .050; Guillen: .047

HR/AB: Wilkerson: .05916; Guillen: .03879

XB/AB: Wilkerson (38 extra-base hits): .1124; Guillen (53): .0894

H/AB: Wilkerson (79 hits): .2337; Guillen (172): .2901

And Wilkerson wasn't really healthy, although Guillen wasn't strong for a third of the year, either. A healthy Wilkerson trumps a healthy Guillen by a good bit, by the numbers.

I expect if both these guys are healthy all year, their OPS will both be +.850, but Guillen will have more singles and Wilkerson more power--which, as Adam has pointed out a couple of times, helps address an issue from last year.

(Likely, and obviously, their RBI totals will depend on the frequency of guys on in front of them. But I can see them being a little more close to equal than their histories suggest, given their past and current lineups.)

Sexson and Vidro staying healthy would address the other parts of Adam's singles-happy equation, IF it happens. And I would guess, to repeat my response to Adam's first post of those thoughts, that groundballs have a higher frequency of getting through than flyballs falling in, thus the out-of-balance BABIP.

Vidro spraying line drives all year, Sexson hitting 30+ dingers, and Wilkerson staying healthy, will likely bring the M's OPS into a more "real," less singles-driven zone.

Let's keep our fingers crossed...

Posted by Merrill

3:57 AM, Mar 14, 2008

Wilkerson's numbers from last year (when injured with an average 30-40 points below his uninjured years), extended to 500-600 AB:

BB-2B-HR-XB-H

500 AB:

64-25-30-56-117

600 AB:

76-30-35-67-140

Guillen's, 593 AB:

BB-2B-HR-XB-H

41-28-23-53-172

Extrapolated to 600 AB:

41-28-24-54-174

For easy comparison, 600 AB:

W: 76-30-35-67-140

G: 41-28-24-54-174

W - G = +35 BB, +2 2B, +11 HR, +13 XB, -34 H

Given those numbers plugged in to the same lineup, I should think the RBI will even out.

Posted by KirklandDawg

6:26 AM, Mar 14, 2008

Come on Mac..............Morse 3 for 3 and up to .581 deserves more than "good"......let's get him a well deserved spot on the roster once and for all !!

Posted by Jack Rabbit

9:12 AM, Mar 14, 2008

Now, real progress would be if they would give Bloomquist's presumed "automatic" roster spot to Mike Morse. He's just as versatile a defensive replacement, and he swings a way better bat.

Face it, M's: Willie has peaked, and it wasn't a very high peak to begin with.

Posted by blah

10:03 AM, Mar 14, 2008

Merrill still thinks he's some kind of expert I see...

Posted by Adam

10:11 AM, Mar 14, 2008

And I would guess, to repeat my response to Adam's first post of those thoughts, that groundballs have a higher frequency of getting through than flyballs falling in, thus the out-of-balance BABIP.


GBs may get through more often than flyballs, but that's not the point. The fact that we are hitting so many GB singles is not a good omen for the future, because more of them are getting through than average (hence the high BABIP). Thus, to hope for the same sort of production from this lineup without a spike in power numbers or OBP or both is useless.

Or, to put it another way, if the lineup performs just as it did last year, you can expect the production to be worse, not the same.

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