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November 3, 2008 at 5:43 PM

The word from Jackie Z

The Mariners’ press corps — all three traveling papers have reporters here — met for about 20 minutes with Jack Zduriencik, who said he has barely had time to even walk through the lobby. That’s because he’s been holed up in his suite making phone calls, not to mention answering e-mails and text messages. While we were talking, his computer chimed constantly with incoming e-mails.
He said that many of the calls were with Mariners’ staffers not in Dana Point, Calif., getting further input on Mariners’ personnel. He also has talked with representatives from other teams, many of whom have recommendations for his staff — including manager. More on that in a moment.
One of his calls this morning was a courtesy call to Raul Ibanez, the Mariners’ most prominent free agent.
“It was nothing more than a complimentary conversation of respect he very well deserves,” Zduriencik said. “It was an introduction so he knows who I am. He knew about me, and said he had a lot of friends that knew me. I said the same of him….We had a nice conversation, very cordial.”
Zduriencik, however, wasn’t ready to say how actively the club would pursue Ibanez.
As for the manager’s position, Zduriencik said he’s accelerated the vetting process while he’s been here.
“I’ve had a conversation today with a prospective candidate,” he said. “I had a conversation last night someone having information on someone who would be interested here.”
Zduriencik hopes to get heavily into the interview process next week, ideally with five to seven candidates.
Did the person he talked to today make the cut?
“I don’t know yet. We’ll talk again. He certainly wants to.”
Besides Zduriencik, the Mariners’ contingent here consists of Lee Pelekoudas, Jim Na, negotiator Bart Waldman, director of baseball information Tim Hevly, and their two newest hires, Tony Blengino and Tom McNamara, both of whom came from the Brewers’ scouting department.
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