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Mariners blog

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

July 3, 2007 at 11:16 AM

M’s name first base coach

As we told you last night, Mike Goff is the new bench coach serving under manager John McLaren. That left Goff’s first base job open and it’s to be filled internally, we’ve just learned, with Gary Thurman, the organization’s current outfield and baserunning co-ordinator. Thurman was a member of that 1995 playoff team in Seattle (only played 13 games) and also spent time with the Royals, Tigers and Mets during nine major league seasons. He managed at Class A Inland Empire last season, his ninth as a coach within Seattle’s system. Thurman was at Class AA San Antonio the previous year and knows many of the current Mariners.
When you’re making in-season moves like this, sometimes you’re better off sticking with people from within when making coaching additions. Takes less time for everyone to get to know each other and be on the same page.
Thurman won’t join the team until it heads to Oakland for a series that begins Thursday. Until then, Johnny Moses will continue to fill in at first base.
Big test for the Mariners tonight to see how they rebound. Last night’s loss used up one of those games in hand they had on the Los Angeles Angles. As we’ve mentioned too many times, games in hand only mean something positive when you win them. They mean something negative when you lose them. But tonight is more about seeing how the M’s respond to their first loss in 10 days. This is no time for a letdown. The pitching they face won’t get any easier after Kansas City.
Speaking of big tests, the Angels are about to face one. News that catcher Mike Napoli is headed to the DL is devastating news for a team scrambling to score runs. Here’s the lowdown on that from the Orange County Register’s Angels blog. Somebody wanted to know yesterday why we don’t link to the Los Angeles Times very often despite their superb coverage. That’s easy. They make you register for their online content. Many of you have complained to me previously about using such links, so I now try to avoid it.
The Angels will be happy to have this guy back. Reggie Willits and Orlando Cabrera make the offense go. Willits hasn’t played in a week but is expected back tonight in Texas.
Lots of questions about last night’s post. I’d say that it was up to Kenji Johjima to go out to the mound and explain the strategy to Brandon Morrow if he wasn’t aware of it and was shaking off the planned pitches. But it’s also up to McLaren to make sure Johjima doesn’t give in to a rookie pitcher as he’s crouched behind the plate. He has to insist to Johjima beforehand that the stretegy must be adhered to in order to succeed. McLaren’s strategy could have worked. But it’s the kind of strategy where everyone has to be aware of what’s going on, especially the guy throwing the ball once he shows signs of going his own route. That wasn’t the case, so the manager takes the hit first, then the catcher. That’s how I see it.
On the bullpen usage, I’d be in favor of exploring more of what George Sherrill can do down the road. Using him for only one batter per game seems a waste. But you must all keep this in mind, Sherrill last season ran out of steam down the stretch because of an elbow sprain that is still a lingering factor. He has learned to pitch around the discomfort and it has bothered him only minimally this season. The problem won’t go away and will be there the rest of his career. The more innings he throws, the more he risks aggravating the elbow ligament to the degree where it does start to hamper his performance. Not saying it will, but this is uncertain territory we’re venturing into.
So, making him a full-time set-up man in the eighth might not be the best idea. Using him for more than one batter on a limited basis? Why not try that first and see if the arm becomes an issue? I know from talking to him that he’s ready to try an expanded role.

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