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Mariners blog

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

March 8, 2007 at 8:44 AM

Highlights from Hargrove’s morning press conference

Geoff Baker, our Mariners beat writer, is taking a one-week hiatus from spring training and this blog. In the interim, both Larry Stone, the Times’ national baseball writer, and I will be filing periodic entries.
On to the news of the morning, courtesy of Mariners manager Mike Hargrove. The Mariners reassigned OF Rayon Lampe to minor-league camp. That leaves the club with an even 60 players remaining in big-league camp. That was also my first impression of the clubhouse. This is my third foray into spring training, and I’ve never seen this many new faces or a clubhouse quite this crowded.
Hargrove said LHP Cesar Jimenez will have an MRI on his sore left elbow later on today. Jimenez was projected as a possible option for the Mariners final bullpen spot, throwing middle to long relief.
Also on the injury front, Adrian Beltre will not play today or tomorrow — Hargrove prefaced both days with “probably” — because of a sore left shoulder (bursitis). Beltre won’t take batting practice, either. He probably could take ground balls, but Hargrove said he doesn’t want to risk that. Hargrove said the injury was caused, at least in part, by work Beltre did with hitting coach Jeff Pentland this offseason. They worked on Beltre letting go of his top hand after contact.
Beltre isn’t known as a fast starter, but was hitting well so far this spring. Hargrove said that has been a point of emphasis, but added there was no science behind it.
“If there was a science to it, somebody would have patented it by now,” he said.
2B Jose Lopez did not report any soreness after making his spring training debut Wednesday. Lopez went 1 for 3. He suffered a sprained right ankle during winter ball in Venezuela.
The most interesting part of the morning briefing was when Hargrove was asked about the organization’s catching prospects. He mentioned both Rob Johnson and Jeff Clement as “two of the top catching prospects in the game.”
Hargrove said Clement could be ready as early as halfway through this season, maybe later. He also praised Clement’s bat.
“His bat catches your eye before everything else does,” Hargrove said. “Pretty rare.”
Big plans for the rest of the morning. On the docket: a feast at In-N-Out Burger for lunch and the Mariners game against the Kansas City Royals later in Surprise, Ariz. They will recognize a familiar face in the opposing dugout — former teammate and new $55-million man Gil Meche.

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