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

September 19, 2008 at 5:52 PM

Tonight’s starting catcher

oakk0919 005.jpg
A late lineup change for the A’s, with Jeff Baisley replacing Daric Barton at first base.
Greetings from Oakland. No, this is not a computer game, though Felix Hernandez takes on the Oakland A’s in real life tonight as well as in MLB 2K action. We’ll see which version does better. The guy catching Hernandez tonight is A.J. Pierzyn…oh, no, wait. That’s the computer version. It’s Kenji Johjima, pictured above. I spoke to manager Jim Riggleman earlier and he said: I think he’s really come on. He’s swinging the bat better, he’s catching better, he’s throwing people out.”
Johjima’s average is up from .200 to .250 in September. But his OPS is down from .594 to .500 in what is, I’ll admit, a small sample size. On the bigger sample, his average has gone down from .213 to .209 since the all-star break, though his OPS is up from .549 to .602. In all, I’d say it’s up for debate whether he’s actually improved or not. Johjima has a lot to prove next spring. I’d be surprised if he took time off from spring training to play for Japan in the World Baseball Classic.
Riggleman says Johjima is actually the team’s No. 1 catcher right now. With a little catch.
“I think Kenji, as we’re sitting here now, is our No. 1 catcher,” he said. “But if Clement doesn’t get hurt, who knows where he’d be?”
Sounds about right. Johjima has to win back the confidence of the pitching staff. And he has to hit better than this. Period.


The lineups:
MARINERS
RF Ichiro
SS Yuniesky Betancourt
LF Raul Ibanez
2B Jose Lopez
1B Miguel Cairo
CF Wladimir Balentien
C Kenji Johjima
3B Matt Tuiasosopo
DH Rob Johnson
RHP Felix Hernandez
OAKLAND
RF Travis Buck
LF Aaron Cunningham
CF Ryan Sweeney
DH Jack Cust
C Kurt Suzuki
SS Bobby Crosby
2B Cliff Pennington
3B Jack Hannahan
1B Jeff Baisley
LHP Dana Eveland

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