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March 26, 2009 at 10:22 AM

Ichiro, Johjima arrive

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Don’t forget Geoff Baker Live! coming up at 11 a.m.
Both Japanese players are on the field as we speak. Ichiro and Kenji Johjima are also both in the lineup for today’s game against the Kansas City Royals. So far, their arrival has been rather uneventful. You read what Mike Sweeney and Jack Zduriencik had to say in our story this morning about the importance of the “character” (note that I did not say “chemistry”) of a team. The clubhouse has a different feel to it so far this spring. We’ll see how the two new arrivals interract with everyone.
We’ll be speaking to Ichiro after he plays.
The new arrivals also mean some guys have been shipped out to minor league camp.
Catcher Adam Moore was one of them. Many of you have asked what’s going to happen with the logjam at the catching position. Well, I can tell you there will either be a trade or some guys are going to be playing ball at a level lower than most expected them to be this spring.
Moore has yet to be assigned to Class AAA or AA. I could see him starting the year in AA for now, with Jeff Clement or Rob Johnson going to AAA.
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The organization feels it’s most important for the three young catchers to play every day. Less important where they do it.
The pitching at the AA level is actually pretty good, so Moore’s development will not be impacted too severely if he has to repeat that level again. In a perfect world, he’d go to AAA but things aren’t perfect. Same with Clement. He’s got some things to work on with his footwork and throwing and it will be easier to do that if he’s behind the plate every day in AAA rather than riding the bench in the majors.
That’s my hunch for now after speaking to some folks on your behalf following some questions about it after yesterday’s show. Nothing’s been decided, but that’s one way this scenario could be handled.
At this point, in discussing “development” of the catchers, the prevailing view is that getting them to play daily is more important that the quality of the opponents. Only way that changes is with a trade. Right now, Johnson has the best market value for teams in need of a catcher.
Other players sent out today included third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo.
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“He couldn’t have done anything better in camp,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He impressed me to no end.
“I probably haven’t seen such a player improve more in a six month period than he has.”
Look for Tuiasosopo, if he keeps it up in AAA, to take over at third base if Adrian Beltre gets traded this summer.
Others sent down included pitcher Sean White and catcher Jason Phillips.



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