Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
August 20, 2008 10:35 AM
Posted by Larry Stone
UPDATE 11:49: Well, that was something to see: Ken Griffey Jr.'s first White Sox home run, which was his first American League home run since 1999 with the Mariners. It was the 609th homer of his career, tying him with former White Sox and Cubs outfielder Sammy Sosa for fifth on the all-time list.
UPDATE 11:45: Just got an update on Jim Thome. He was scratched because of slight soreness in his right leg. The White Sox offense has really struggled without him.
UPDATE, 11:30: To answer my own question (see below): Doesn't look like it.
So, will I get to see a Mariners' victory on this road trip? Remember, Geoff was in Anaheim, so he got to cover the lone win. I'm 0-for-Minnesota and Chicago. Trust me, the trudge into that visiting clubhouse after each defeat is not pleasant. One time in the early 1990s, I was covering a bad Giants' team, and after a loss, one of the writers was chuckling about something as he walked into the clubhouse to do his interviews.One of the Giants' players -- I believe it was Will Clark -- started screaming at him, "What are you laughing about?" It got pretty ugly. Ah, the memories.
Anyway, Balentien is back in left field after a spell in center. I asked Riggleman if he had a feel for what Balentien's best outfield position is. Here's his answer:
"He's OK in center. The thing about it is, he's got such a good arm that we probably would like for him to settle in in left or right. If our necessity is that he plays center, that's what we'll do. But it's hard to throw guys out from center. Basically, you throw peopl;e out from left and right. We probably would like to have him play one of those two eventually.''
Could Ichiro wind up back in center? "The makeup of the ballclub is going to determine that. I'm pretty sure Ichiro prefers to play right. I know for the team he would go to center."
More tidbits: Felix is fine after getting hit on his left ankle by a line drive on Tuesday. Carlos Silva is penciled in to return to the rotation on Aug. 31 against Cleveland. And don't pencil in Erik Bedard for anything. Apparently, his last throwing session didn't go so well.
"What I'm hearing is he's not as encouraged by his previous outing as he was with his others,'' Riggleman said.
The immediate upshot: Bedard's Saturday bullpen session will almost certainly be delayed. The long-term upshot: His chances of pitching again this season are up in the air.
"I guess I'd look at it as kind of gravy if he does,'' Riggleman said. "I'd love for him to pitch for us. I'd love to have him feel good about how he pitched going into the offseason, with a plan for him, but I can't make it happen."
I'd say the chances of trading Bedard in the offseason are extremely slim if he can't get back on the mound this year (or even if he does). So look for the big lug to be back in the Mariners' rotation next year -- provided his left shoulder allows it.
Jeremy Reed CF
Raul Ibanez DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jose Lopez 2B
Jeff Clement C
Wladimir Balentien LF
Bryan LaHair 1B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
R.A. Dickey P
Orlando Cabrera SS
A.J. Pierzynski C
Carlos Quentin LF
Ken Griffey Jr. DH
Paul Konerko 1B
Nick Swisher RF
Alexei Ramirez 2B
DeWayne Wise CF
Juan Uribe 3B
Gavin Floyd P
(The White Sox made a late lineup change, scratching Jim Thome, moving Griffey from RF to DH, Swisher from CF to RF, and DeWayne Wise to center field. Not sure yet what's wrong withThome. Interesting that Griffey was originally playing right and not center).