Mariners manager John McLaren had a choice on when to use Kenji Johjima and when to go with Jamie Burke, since there was a day game after a night game tomorrow. He opted to use Burke tonight with Jarrod Washburn on the mound. Coincidence? I decided to find out. And McLaren was blatantly honest. He wants to match the pitching and catching batteries that work together when he can.
That means, he volunteered later in the conversation, that Burke will be catching Erik Bedard for the forseeable future. As McLaren pointed out, it’s been done before with Greg Maddux in Atlanta and Mike Mussina in New York. Neither was caught by their team’s No. 1 catcher very often. But Washburn is not Maddux, nor is he Mussina. McLaren would not commit to making Burke the full-time Washburn receiver going forward. He only said he’d do such matching up when the situation presents itself.
“If we can do it, we’ll try to do it,” he says, here on this audio clip of my questions and his answers. “I’m not going to switch everything around. Just when there’s an opportunity, when certain pitchers are pitching, if we can do it we can do it.”
All I’ll say is, it’s a very interesting situation for a team that just gave Johjima a three-year extension and has it’s former No. 1 draft pick catching in Class AAA instead of up in the big leagues.
“You’ve got to look at it two ways,” McLaren said. “If a guy is having success with one guy, you’ve definitely got to really weigh that heavily. That doesn’t lie. We’ve got kind of that situation with Burke and Bedard. It’s been a good combination and so we’re going to stick with it for a while.”
I’ll give McLaren credit. He didn’t try to dance around what he was doing. He was accountable. And that’s not always a common thing with this team.
And for Nat, in the comments section, I hope this adequately addresses what you asked about when you posted a link earlier today. I’m only trying to tell you what’s going on in that clubhouse, the way I see it, as best I can. I don’t think any of you would expect or accept anything less. It’s not always fun writing this stuff, but when it’s out there, it has to be told.
May 21, 2008 at 2:40 PM