Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.
March 26, 2009 4:39 PM
Posted by Geoff Baker
Seattle scored three in the ninth to come back and win, with Mike Sweeney driving home Ronny Cedeno to win it with a single to right center. My apologies for skipping the final few innings, but we were in the clubhouse talking to Ichiro for the first time this spring. Given that we haven't seen him since the final days of last season, with all the stuff that's been said about him, bandied about, debated, etc., there was no way we could not ask him about what went on last season.
I asked him about some of the comments by J.J. Putz and others. Ichiro wasn't happy to be asked the question. Incredibly, no Japanese reporters thought to ask him about the issue at the WBC. And he really spoke only about the WBC to American writers at the tournament.
Frankly, this was more a first day of camp kind of thing. Problem is, he wasn't here. But we had him now, so you've got to ask when he's in front of your face. You can't hide in the back of the pack. So, we asked and he answered -- rather candidly.
I'll have it all for you shortly.
Mark Lowe gave up a pair of runs in the top of the ninth as the M's fell behind 9-7 before coming back to win. Lowe's command was off, as was Felix Hernandez's. Anyhow, this closer thing could come down to a coin flip the way it's going. I'm not going to waste a bunch of time dwelling on what did become a sloppy game. To the reader who asked, it wasn't sloppy because the M's happened to come back. It was sloppy because folks were booting the ball around and pitchers cou;dn't hit the strike zone.
Other than that, it was fantastic.
Anyhow, the M's won. If anything else it was a good sign that Sweeney came through in the ninth. After all, he'll be asked to come off the bench in such roles this season, a point that M's manager Don Wakamatsu alluded to afterwards.
Anyhow, I'm off to transcribe the Ichiro interview session. Let's not waste more time on this game. By the way, Ichiro said he was intrigued when I asked him about the idea of a "real'' World Series between the MLB champ and the Japanese club champion. He feels there is enough pitching depth in Japanese baseball to make it competitive. Said it's something he dreams of one day seeing.