The Mariners worked out for about two hours today at a very chilly Safeco Field. Ichiro went through the full drills without any problems and seems to be on course to be activated on Wednesday. Here’s what Ichiro had to say before the workout. I asked Jack Zduriencik whether Ichiro was on course to be activated, and here’s what he said:
“We’re going to get the blood test results this afternoon. He looks great. His batting practice was terrific. I think his energy level is back. Physically, he looks good. We’ll see. I don’t anticipate anything. I’d be surprised if anything went wrong.”
And Don Wakamatsu ,speaking at the beginning of the workout, said: “We’re going to watch him work out today, but everything looks like it’s headed that way (toward Ichiro being activated on Wednesday).”
Wakamatsu said, by the way, that Ichiro will hit leadoff, despite the hot start by Endy Chavez.. He’s mulling over whether to bat Chavez second or ninth.
I asked Zduriencik if he still feels good about his decision to put Ichiro on the disabled list. Remember, Ichiro fought to stay off the DL, and still says he wishes he had been allowed to play.
“Oh, yeah, no question it was the right decision,” he said. “This is a 162-game season. To have lost him later in the year, if this thing prolonged itself, or we didn’t take care of it, it would not been a good thing for this club. Now we’re going to have him back, and we look forward to having him in the lineup.”
Ken Griffey Jr., by the way, declined to talk about his return to Safeco Field tomorrow in a Mariners’ uniform. But I’m sure that will be a big part of the focus of tomorrow’s coverage. One thing I’ve ascertained this year is that Griffey is very sensitive about not being the focal point of the team. He simply doesn’t want to be the story every day, and I think that’s why he shunned questions about his homecoming.
Much of the talk was about the good feeling in the clubhouse. In fact, I’ll be writing a column for tomorrow’s paper on that topic.
I thought the most telling quote came from Russ Branyan:
“Guys are having fun. I didn’t know what they were talking about when they said the chemistry was bad last year, because there’s a bunch of great guys here. I spoke to one of the guys that played here last year that’s no longer here. He said, ‘It was one of the most bizarre things.” He’s never been with such a great group of guys that just were divided. They couldn’t figure out what it was. It could have been the way the season went, it could have been anything.
“But so far this year, through spring training, the guys are having fun, having a great time. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
April 13, 2009 at 2:58 PM