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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

February 19, 2007 at 12:52 PM

Weather warriors

Well, you’ll all be thrilled to know the Mariners are tougher than the San Diego Padres, at least when it comes to sticking out batting practice in the rain. The skies opened up here right at the start of BP today and while the Padres, practicing at an adjacent complex, scampered for cover, the M’s stuck it out for another 25 minutes until it got far too cold and wet. The rest of the workout took place in the indoor batting cages.
Not sure it means anything, though if it was NFL football, I’d like Seattle’s chances in a playoff game up north. Other than that, it was fun watching Richie Sexson take his first cuts of the spring while trying to grip a wet bat handle. Even with the conditions the way they were, he was able to blast a couple of shots well beyond the fence without even making perfect contact. Now that is true power. Love him or hate him, that power is the reason the M’s still have him. (No, it isn’t only because of his contract.) That power is what pitchers fear when Sexson is looming in the on-deck circle or stepping to the plate. Believe me, the guy on the mound isn’t running through his K/AB ratio or his VORP at a time like that. And it’s that type of psychological edge that doesn’t show up on paper. I agree that Sexson is too inconsistent at times and strikes out in some key situations. But every successful team needs his fear factor in the lineup. Try to replace it with a platoon of less-feared guys and chances are the other hitters in the lineup would suffer.
(I know I’m going to get killed on that little speech by some of you, so, don’t worry, I’ve already run through your counter-arguments in my head. If you want to repeat them here, feel free to fire away).
Jose Vidro walked through the clubhouse door once the players were back in the clubhouse trying to dry off. Ichiro won’t be arriving until later, with a physical scheduled for 4:15 p.m. Vidro insists he’s been doing lots of leg work to stay in shape over the winter, but doesn’t know what to expect from the DH challenges he’ll face just yet. He plans to lean on Edgar Martinez for advice when the latter, as reported in my previous blog entry, arrives in camp as a guest coach. The Mariners have since firmed-up the dates for Martinez’s arrival and now have it planned for Feb. 24-26. So, this coming weekend.
As I mentioned earlier, Jay Buhner and Dab (whoops — make that “Dan”) Wilson will be here as guest coaches as well the week of March 4-9.
Not much else to say about today’s workouts, other than the Mariners were quite pleased to get it in after expecting the rain days in advance. Pitchers were given the day off from throwing, a good thing in weather like this. They worked instead on all types of PFP and little in-game situations, like bunting off a pitching machine. Some pitchers were better at the bunting than others. Let’s just say that it’s a good thing the Mariners signed Felix Hernandez for his arm and not his bunts. Jim Parque looked far more skilled at it and he hasn’t seriously worked at it for three or four years!
Time to go grab lunch and then get back for the Ichiro watch. I see a horde of Japanese media already gathering in the rain, so it can’t be too long now.



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