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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

May 24, 2013 at 11:28 AM

Mariners’ minor-league report, and exclusive audio of Mariners discussing first-base transition with Jesus Montero

Our pal Mike Curto, the Rainiers broadcaster, tweeted last night that Chris Woodward, the Mariners  infield instructor, was set to leave Tacoma but was asked by the Mariners to stay, so he can teach Jesus Montero how to play first base.

Through sources, I was able to obtain audio of the first conversation among Woodward, Mariners’ GM Jack Zduriencik, and Montero: Listen to the clip.

I’m not sure why Zduriencik keeps calling Montero “Scott”, and I never knew Woodward’s nickname was “Wash.”

OK, OK, the clip is from “Moneyball,” the scene in which Billy Beane informs former catcher Scott Hatteberg — a Yakima native who lives in Gig Harbor — they plan to move him to first base. And “Wash,” of course, is Ron Washington, who at the time was the A’s infield guru and happens to be in town tonight as manager of the Texas Rangers.

Hatteberg made the adjustment and wound up with several productive seasons as a first baseman. We’ll see if Montero can learn the skill, though I echo the sentiment of Jeff Sullivan: If one of the theories the Mariners have for Montero’s offensive dropoff is that he expended to much mental energy working on his catching skills, then throwing a new position at him — one that’s “incredibly hard” to learn, in Wash’s famous words — seems dicey.

At any rate, here is today’s Mariners minor-league report. One more domino fell today when first baseman Rich Poythress was moved from Tacoma to Double-A Jackson.

The big news in Tacoma last night — besides Montero going 0-for-2 in his Rainiers debut (and kudos to him for reporting right away, even though by rule he had 72 hours to show up) — was Jeremy Bonderman‘s rough outing. Seemingly poised to possibly join the Mariner rotation in replacement of Brandon Maurer (because Zduriencik said yesterday that Aaron Harang, isn’t going anywhere), Bonderman was lit up for 11 hits (two homers) and eight runs in five innings. Can’t imagine he’s going to get the call now. The name to tuck away is Andrew Carraway, who is 5-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 10 starts for the Rainiers. He’s a former college teammate of Danny Hultzen at the University of Virginia. He’s not on 40-man roster, so there’s that.

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