Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
July 29, 2008 7:16 PM
Posted by Geoff Baker
Ichiro takes a lead off first base after needing just one pitch to hit a flare to left center for a single and the 3,000th hit of his professional career in both the major leagues and Japan. He got a nice round of applause from the crowd when the milestone was announced. Just had a chat with Nolan Ryan, moments after the hit. Yes, that guy. The new Rangers team president. He'd stopped by the press box for a glass of water, so I tapped him on the shoulder as he headed for the elevator.
I asked him the same question we've discussed all day. About the legitmacy of the 3,000 hits given that a huge chunk of them came in Japan. Ryan is a Hall of Famer. As you've seen, many of those players care about milestones and legitimacy of numbers.
"I think 3,000 hits is 3,000 hits,'' Ryan said. "It doesn't matter what league he did it in. For him to come out here and do what he did right away is a remarkable accomplishment. It's a tribute to him as a player that he's been able to do it for so long. When you get to the stage of 3,000 hits, that's an accomplishment and I don't care where he did it.''
We've got a ballgame going here in the seventh, as Jose Lopez and Bryan LaHair just hit back-to-back solo homers off Jamey Wright to make it a 9-8 game, the M's still trailing. Seattle scored three in the sixth, aided by a wild-pitch and some sloppy fielding. Can they get Carlos Silva off the hook? We'll see. It's the first time this season the Mariners have hit back-to-back homers. Only took them 106 games. What a night.
Just got done talking to interim GM Lee Pelekoudas, who said he's involved in all kinds of discussions about a multitude of players. But he reiterated that he's not going to engage in salary dumps. He wants value in return for players. He mentioned, as we discussed on the blog yesterday, that in some cases, he can wait until after July 31 to make some deals.
Pelekoudas kept repeating that he will only make deals that will make the club better. I asked him at that point whether taking $10 million in salary off the books for next year would, in theory, make the club better by freeing uo funds to go after better players.
He agreed that, in theory, it would. But then he countered that, in practical terms, a team does not always make itself better by subtracting certain players who are contributing. He reiterated that some money moves -- or moves involving players who earn a lot -- can be made at a later date, either in August or at the winter meetins in order to reap a better return than what's now being offered.
He agreed with me when I asked whether there's a developing trend by GMs not to give away top prospects in deals. But he said it wasn't a new trend. That it's been unfolding for several years. By the same token, he added, winning teams also need established proven players who can produce and there is value in that. Of course he's saying that, mind you, since that's what he has to sell.
The Brewers were here last night to scout Arthur Rhodes, and also Eddie Guardado. Don't know if the Marlins and Tigers were here as well, but we hear they're also following the lefty.
6:29 p.m.: So, we're in the fifth inning, with the Mariners getting hammered 8-3. Carlos Silva gave up a five-spot in the third inning and was yanked with only one out. Bet his back is sore. At least his neck, from snapping it around to watch all those extra base hits off him. Marlon Byrd tagged him for a three-run homer to end his night.
Seattle got three back with a two-out rally in the third. Jose Lopez, Bryan LaHair and Miguel Cairo singled to load the bases, then Jamie Burke notched an infield hit. Third baseman Ramon Vazquez then threw the ball away, allowing a second run to score on the play. Yuniesky Betancourt added a single to left to make it a four-run game, but then the Rangers added one off Roy Corcoran in the bottom of the frame on a Josh Hamilton single and a Milton Bradley double down the right field line.
5:23 p.m.: The Mariners got runners to first and third with nobody out in the first inning, but could not get the run across. Raul Ibanez lined into a fielder's choice out at second, Ichiro holding at third. Adrian Beltre then grounded into an inning-ending double play.
They now trail 2-0 in the bottom of the third inning after Carlos Silva gave up doubles to Milton Bradley and Marlon Byrd in the second and an RBI single by Gerald Laird. The Rangers had runners at the corners and were looking for more, but Silva escaped further damage.