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February 23, 2009 at 12:59 PM

Intra-squad: more tempo needed

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Manager Don Wakamatsu just finished watching a rather dull intra-squad affair that ended 1-0 in favor of the “visiting” team (whatever that means to you). A total of seven hits in the five-inning affair with nine men left on-base.
Wakamatsu paid close attention to bunt drills carried out during the game, between innings. He was pleased with the bunt defense, not so pleased with the offense. Once again, situational hitting is something the M’s can always improve upon.
Another thing he wasn’t thrilled about? The “tempo” of the game. Carlos Silva and Miguel Batista, who started for the home and visiting side respectively, took a little bit too much time between each delivery, as did other pitchers. It’s normal for this time of year, but also something Wakamatsu wants to get a jump on because of all the mound problems this team had last season — not to mention its slow start in 2008.
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Remember, a whole lot of players will be leaving for the WBC. There won’t be as much time to work on this as there usually is. The team will be meeting with its catchers to go over some things, since catchers have a lot to do with helping pitchers speed up their tempo. It wasn’t a disaster of a day. Just about normal for the first game situation of the spring.
Batista threw the ball relatively well, retiring Endy Chavez on a foul ball to left, Jeff Clement on a groundout to first base and Ronny Cedeno on a grounder to shortstop. Silva also pitched well, notching a groundout by Franklin Gutierrez, a flyout to center by Chris Woodward and a groundout to first by Mike Carp. Wakamatsu praised Silva for keeping the ball down lower than he did throughout last season.
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David Aardsma gave up a pair of hits in the second inning and the game’s only run. Chris Shelton led off with a single, then scored on a one-out triple by Matt Tuiasosopo.
More news to pass on? Adrian Beltre will meet with Wakamatsu today and could make a decision on whether to play in the WBC. Phillippe Aumont, the team’s No. 1 pick in 2007 and who will likely start the year in high Class A ball, has decided he will, in fact, pitch for Team Canada.
As we told you yesterday, Ryan Rowland-Smith will start Wednesday’s charity game against the Padres, with Garret Olson going right after him, followed by relievers. Felix Hernandez will throw an inning or two in the official Cactus League opener Thursday against San Diego, followed for an inning by Jarrod Washburn.
Wladimir Balentien had a meeting today at the U.S. consulate (we assume in Caracas, where he lives, but the team is being very tight-lipped about the situation) to sort through visa issues. Wakamatsu hopes he’ll be here Wednesday, but no one knows for certain.
And Erik Bedard could get an inning on Friday. He’s slotted to throw an inning in tomorrow’s intra-squad affait, so the team will see how he feels afterwards.

Comments | Topics: Chris Woodward

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