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March 2, 2009 at 10:25 AM

Griffey takes live cuts

All Mariners minor-league pitcher Jake Wild was told this morning was that they wanted him to throw some live batting practice.
It wasn’t until he took the mound and saw the familiar visage of No. 24 sitting on a bench beside the cage that he figured out what was up.
“When I saw him put his helmet on, it was pretty cool,” said Wild, a 26th-round draft pick last year.
Wild was one of two Mariners farmhands who threw a simulated game to four better-known Seattle players today, including Ken Griffey Jr. The others were Mike Sweeney, Yuniesky Betancourt and Russell Branyan. They were the first live cuts Griffey had taken this spring not from a coach.
Alas, those hoping for some early spring magic instead got mostly fly balls — there were no fielders, but all five balls Griffey hit in three different sessions looked like they probably would have been outs. All were fly balls to the outfield.
No one hit homers or anything off the wall, appearing to take fairly easy swings.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said he was happy with the work the four players received.
“All of them looked pretty good,” he said, adding the four will likely have a similar session Friday, with the goal to get them as many live at-bats with as little wear-and-tear on their bodes as possible.
Wakamatsu said Griffey’s knee appears to be just fine and as of now, there are no restrictions on his use. Sweeney did well in some running before the session and also seems to be progressing as hoped.
Wakamatsu praised how the two pitchers — the other was lefty Travis Mortimore — handled their work, throwing strikes on almost exclusively fastballs.
As for Wild, a right-hander, he now has a story to tell his friends, if nothing else.
The Fresno native, who turns 25 on Aug. 18, said he has long looked up to Griffey.
“He was one of my guys growing up, so it’s cool,” he said. “I have a couple of his cards. I’ll see if I can get them signed.”
GEOFF BAKER LIVE ON HIATUS — For those who have asked, I won’t try to do any of Geoff’s live shows or anything like that. As the fill-in guy, I don’t feel real comfortable analyzing the team or answering questions about it right now or anything. But I will try to keep the blog updated with information from camp as best I can.

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