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July 16, 2009 at 2:42 PM

Wakamatsu on Beltre’s return, Felix’s new motion, and other topics

Manager Don Wakamatsu gave a pretty optimistic appraisal of Adrian Beltre’s possible return, saying he was “a month or so away.” If he does indeed return in a month, that would mean the Mariners would have him for the final seven weeks of the season, a pretty signficant stretch of time. That would seem to make it unnecessary to trade for a third baseman like Garrett Atkins, or even a second baseman that would allow Jose Lopez to move to third, like Freddy Sanchez. But they still could use a shortstop.
More Wakamatsu on Beltre, who is in Cleveland rehabbing with the team: “Everything is going well. Last year, he had part of the collarbone removed, so it was much more invasive. This year, with the bone spur, he’s progressing much faster.”
His biggest concern, in fact, is reining in Beltre.
“He’s not allowed out here,” he joked. “He told Rick (Griffin, the trainer) he had full range of motion, and that’s not the case right now. He’s such a competitor and wants to be part of this club so bad, we have to make sure he doesn’t aggravate the thing in the process. We have to be awfully careful. But it’s nice to have him here.”

Also here with the team is Mike Sweeney, on the disabled list with back spasms. He took early batting practice without pain and is on schedule to be activated next Tuesday in Detroit for the opener of a three-game series with the Tigers.
Some of you noticed, as I did, the pronounced hip turn that Felix Hernandez employed during the All-Star Game. It was similar to Erik Bedard, even reminiscent of the way Luis Tiant used to pitch, I asked Wakamatsu if he noticed. Of course he did.
“He’s done that at different times. Early in the year, we were more concerned about it because he would turn and leak down the hill. Now he turns and comes back and is back and squared up – that’s fine if we’re talking about the Luis Tiant. His ability to get back square before he goes down the hlll – it’s not problematic. It’s when you try to combine them all is where you get in trouble. It’s been more prevalent in his last three outings.
“It’s similar to watching Ichi or Joe Morgan — as guys grow and they are so athletic they can add some personality to their delivery and add some maybe deception to it and still be fine and not lose anyting. That’s what we will monitor.
“To do it against some fo the greatest players in the game, and he did in the All-Star Game — maybe you look at it as growth but also try to monitor it.”
is it fair for someone as talented as Hernandez to add deception to his repertoire?
“I don’t mind it,” he said with a smile. “Again, it’s nice to see a player have that comfort level. It takes a lot of athleticism and a lot of ability to be able to control the body to do those kind of things.”
Here’s Wakamatsu on meeting President Obama at the All-Star Game: “It was a great, great experience. He’s the third president I’ve met. And I pinch myself getting to stand in the same room as three of the presidents. It was awfully special. They did the National League and then he came over to the American league. One thing I regret is not getting a baseball signed by him. The CIA told everybody no pictures and no balls. But by the time he got around to Ichiro and Nellie Cruz, they said heck with it and they got an autograph. You kind of wished you were at the end of the line.”
Ichiro had said he was going to petition Wakamatsu to allow jeans on team flights because Obama was wearing jeans.
“We flew out from St. Louis to here and I reminded him that’s not going to happen. I told him when you can become president you can wear jeans. ”



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