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

May 4, 2007 at 3:59 PM

Weaver going to freelance it

Nothing like a warm spring day in New York City. Aside from maybe a warm autumn day here, with a cool breeze every now and then. Anyway, we’ll soon see if the sun keeps on shining on the Mariners. Plenty of you have written in to warn me about how the Mariners tend to fold against untested pitchers. Don’t worry, they aren’t the only team that does this. The point I was trying to make is, who would you rather see them face? Mussina-Wang-Pettitte-Hughes, or Igawa-Wang-Rasner-DeSalvo? Exactly. Notice I kept Carl Pavano out of the discussion. Let’s not even go there. He sure won’t.
Anyhow, before our latest Jeff Weaver update, here are tonight’s lineups. By the way, those dates I gave you last night for the make-up games with Cleveland? They were made official about two hours ago.
CF Johhny Damon
SS Derek Jeter
DH Bobby Abreu
3B Alex Rodriguez
LF Hideki Matsui
C Jorge Posada
2B Robinson Cano
RF Melky Cabrera
1B Doug Mientkiewicz
LHP — Kei Igawa
CF Ichiro
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Jose Vidro
LF Raul Ibanez
1B Richie Sexson
RF Jose Guillen
C Kenji Johjima
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
2B Jose Lopez
RHP — Cha Seung Baek
Now, on to Weaver, who spoke long and in-detail with reporters by his locker here today, ahead of tomorrow’s do-or-die start for him. Weaver made it clear that if he is to go down in flames, it will be his gasoline poured on the fire. In other words, he says he hasn’t been himself on the mound this season and that’s going to change. He says he’s tried to be diplomatic and political with his new team, listening to all sorts of advice on how he should pitch. But with his Seattle career on the line tomorrow, he’ll go back to what feels natural.
“Trying to be something that somebody else wants you to be just doesn’t work a lot of times,” he said. “It may work sometimes. It may help you out sometimes. But when things are going tough, you’ve just got to just go back to the beginning and to who you are.”
In Weaver’s case, that’s a guy who goes on feel and gut instinct. Who raises and lowers his arm angles during games depending on the situation. A guy who throws a pitch depending on how the game is evolving instead of trying to make it fit with some pre-game plan.
In other words, he pitches like a guy who was a college walk-on player at Fresno State. Weaver agrees that his baseball background as a raw, non-prospect type has made him into the type of pitcher who cobbles various approaches together rather than trying to be the perfect mound prototype.
“I think I have a little bit of everything,” he said. “Sometimes, I might want to be the guy going over the top, throwing four-seamers. Sometimes, I might want to be the guy slinging it from down here (low). Other times I want to be off speed. The happy medium, I’ve got to get my finger on.”
This isn’t always what teams want to hear. And it doesn’t always work out. But like Ichiro told Miguel Batista in his ESPN Deportes interview this week, it’s important for players to be true to themselves and their talent. Anyhow, it’s Weaver’s butt on the line. He might as well sink or swim in his own pool.
By the way, Weaver won’t have the offensive support of Adrian Beltre or Jose Vidro in tomorrow’s game. Mariners manager Mike Hargrove needs to start giving players days off, faced with only limited off-days from now through season’s end because of make-up dates, and has chosen tomorrow to do this for Beltre and Vidro now. Ben Broussard and Willie Bloomquist will see action at first base and third respectively while Richie Sexson moves to DH.



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