A shot above of Jarrod Wasburn throwing his second bullpen session of spring training.
Spring training has been underway a few days now, and the usual assortment of aches and pains have started to pile up. Mariners first baseman Russell Branyan is sitting out today’s drills with back stiffness. Yuniesky Betancourt is also taking the day off, having worked out a bit with his sore hamstring yesterday. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said Betancourt is progressing and that the off day today is merely precautionary.
Cesar Jimenez is on a throwing program, still recovering from tendinitis and bronchitis. And lefty Tyler Johnson , battling some tendinitis in a surgically repaired shoulder, is also on a throwing program. But neither is ready to handle a bullpen session yet.
Then, we have the sorry case of Wladimir Balentien, still having visa issues trying to get into this country. Balentien is going to be fighting for a job this spring, and his security didn’t get any better now that Ken Griffey Jr. has been retained and expects to see some outfield time.
I asked Wakamatsu how this delay in getting to camp is going to impact his chances. After all, this is an entirely new coaching staff and front office. Nobody really knows all that much about Balentien, nor do they have much of a personal investment in him.
“If he shows up tomorrow…the later it gets into spring, it’s tougher for us to evaluate him,” Wakamatsu said. “Hopefully, this thing gets taken care of quick. I’d like to see him.”
Some of you may have read my story in today’s paper, about the battle for the closer’s job. I thought it was interesting to hear Miguel Batista talk about his “broken back” from last season. Batista talks of what he initially thought was muscle spasms turning out to be a pair of fractured bones in his back. Anyhow, we had to cut some of the story because of all the space devoted to Griffey in the paper.
I’ve talked before about how this new online medium presents better opportunities for newspapers and this is one of them. I enjoyed hearing what both Batista and Mark Lowe had to say about the closer battle. Unfortunately, the newspaper story quotes didn’t do them justice, so here’s a chance for you to listen to the extended audio clips from both pitchers.
Here is Batista in this link.. And here is Lowe in this one.
Hope you enjoy!
February 20, 2009 at 10:57 AM