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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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August 4, 2008 10:58 PM

The Miracle at The Safe

Posted by Larry Stone

Well, I can't say I saw THAT coming.

In fact, I was crafting a story angle on the surprise resurgence of the Twins -- some of which I touched upon earlier -- when the seventh inning happened. That led to some mad scrambling to re-cast my story, which is one of the fun parts about covering baseball for a morning newspaper. That's the truth -- there's a big adrenalin rush when you have to furiously scramble to re-do your story right on deadline, which happens enough times a season to keep you honest.

Not surprisingly, the big talk in the clubhouse was about Raul Ibanez. No, he wasn't trying to match Fernando Tatis, the only player in history with two slams in one inning (1999, for the Cardinals, against the Dodgers). This quote, in fact, is classic Raul. I asked him if he was thinking about Tatis when he came up with the bases loaded again in the seventh after unloading his first grand slam:

"Actually, I was thinking the opposite,'' he said. "I was thinking smaller -- stay to the big part of the field and don't try to do too much. The likelihood of doing that (another grand slam) was not too great.''

OK, on to Batista. Yes, he was awful. With Ryan Rowland-Smith pitching six strong innings for Tacoma, you've got to think a change is coming. Riggleman was asked that very question after the game, and he gave a non-commital answer:

"We have been and will continue to monitor how he (Rowland-Smith) is doing. We want to get him up here, but we have no timetable on it. We'll keep discussing it.''

Seems to me they need to end the discussion on both Rowland-Smith and Brandon Morrow and make it happen. This is the time of year for examining the future. Mel Stottlemyre pulled Morrow into his office after the game, reportedly to go over some options of his eventual transition to the rotation. Before the game, Riggleman pulled back a little from his comments of Sunday. It seems he might have spoken out of turn when he said, rather definitively, that the team wanted to move Morrow into the rotation once Putz re-claims the closer job.

"I've been more aggressive talking about it than I probably should have,'' he said. "It might be soon, but it might not be as soon as I was alluding the other day.''

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