Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
July 23, 2008 7:29 PM
Posted by Danny O'Neil
There aren't a lot of follow-up questions to ask when a guy offers the point-blank admission that he messed up and the mistake is his alone. That was Willie Bloomquist's response to questions about the center-field drive that he was in position to catch, but didn't in the 12th inning.
"I just flat-out missed it," Bloomquist said. "I can't sit here and make an excuse. It's a ball I should have caught, a ball I've caught it in the past and I hold myself accountable for it. I should have caught it and unfortunately it cost us. In the end, I'm not going to sit there and make any excuse."
Hmmm. No evasion there. Bloomquist's error loaded the bases, but didn't allow a run. The next two batters had base hits, scoring a total of three runs.
On Saturday, Bloomquist lost a ball in the sun at Safeco Field. Was that a factor in Wednesday's play?
"Nope," Bloomquist said. "The sun's no factor. There's no excuse. It's just flat-out a ball I should have and I didn't."
OK. No excuses. No ambiguity there. He goofed. Bloomquist started the game at shortstop, but moved to center field after Yuniesky Betancourt entered the game to pinch-hit for Jeremy Reed.
J.J. Putz pitched for the second time in four days, throwing two innings this time and looking every bit as impressive as the day he came off the disabled list. Putz struck out three in the two innings he pitched, all on fastballs in the mid-90s.
Velocity isn't the only the thing that differentiates Putz's recovery from his first stint on the disabled list back in spring with a rib problem.
"Right now the quality of pitches has been a lot better than it had been the first time I came back," Putz said after the game. "The last few years I haven't been a guy that's walked a whole lot of people and this year, mechanically, it just hasn't been there. And having the time and the coaching staff to have the patience to let me find my delivery again has been huge. I think the results on the field are going to show."
Putz walked 17 batters in the 19 innings he pitched before going on the disabled list in June. He has not walked so far since he was activated.
"It's just a matter of being able to put the ball where I want to when I want to," Putz said. "The first time coming back from the rib injury just for some reason, I don't know if I was thinking about the rib or something like that, mechanics just weren't there. The delivery was not very consistent. All through my rehab assignments and then the last couple times up here, the deliver has been consistent. That's when you're able to repeat and make quality pitches. That's what we've been able to do."