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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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April 12, 2008 4:32 PM

Hello, Dalai (and J.J. too)

Posted by Larry Stone

Larry Stone here. Thanks to Bob Condotta for a great pinch-hitting appearance yesterday. Man, now I've not only got Geoff to live up to, but Condotta.

Sorry, I couldn't resist the awful pun in the headaing. For those out-of-towners, the Dalai Lama is in Seattle this weekend and appearing today in a "Seeds of Compassion" event at Qwest Field, across from Safeco. That led to some major traffic snarls near the two ballparks, but I eventually made it here.

Just got done talking to Angels manager Mike Scioscia. Turns out the Angels are staying in the same hotel as the Dalai Lama, and Scioscia had a chance to talk to some of his entourage. "Junior Dalai Lamas,'' Scioscia said. "Is that what you call them? Vice Lamas?"

The Angels were pretty loose despite their tough loss yesterday. During stretching, a few of them were messing around with the J.J. Putz "soul patches,'' an adhesive replica of Putz's facial hair that the Mariners are giving out as a promotion. Reggie Willits was applying it to his cheek, forehead, hat, etc., while Jered Weaver plopped one on his chin and went over to talk to Putz to see if he'd notice.

Speaking of Putz, the news was again encouraging today. He had another 10-minute throwing session that went very well. He long tossed, then threw hard from pitching distance, but on flat ground. He said he had no discomfort at all. The next step will come Sunday when Putz will throw a bullpen session from the mound. It is likely he will throw a simulated game before a decision is made on when to activate him, but there still is no timetable on his return, or any decision on whether he will need a minor-league rehab appearance. His bullpen session Sunday might help give some answers.

Otherwise, manager John McLaren was still glowing over Friday's victory but lamenting the team's sloppy defense. They now have 12 errors, tied with Texas for most in the American League (the Phillies have 13, and the Pirates 16, proving that no one in Pennsylvania can field).

"Defense is a big part of our game, and we have been really sloppy,'' McLaren said. "It is something we take pride in. We have to do a better job. When it is your strength and it works as your weakness, that’s not good."

OK, in honor of the Dalai Lama (and stealing an idea from the Mariners' P.R. staff), here's Carl Spackler's legendary riff from Caddyshack. Baker may give you video, but does he give you Murray?

"So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one -- big hitter, the Lama -- long, into a ten-thousand foot crevice, right at the base of this glacier. And do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga...gunga -- gunga galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consiousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

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