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August 4, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Adrian Beltre wants to prove to himself he can play well, isn’t worried about contract

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Adrian Beltre is back on the field for the Mariners tonight and feels the team has held its own in his absence. It has, playing .500 ball since he underwent shoulder surgery five weeks ago. The team fell 10 games out of the AL West race during that point so, whether he’ll say it or not, the same electric atmosphere is no longer there the way it was in late June when he went down.
What is still there for Beltre is the fact that his contract has just two months of playing time left on it. He hasn’t had much of a chance to show what he can do this season, his contract year. Beltre had just started to rip the ball again in June when he got hurt.
So, I asked him whether he feels the need to show other teams and the Mariners that he can still perform at a top level.

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“I think I have things to show myself, that I’m 100 percent,” he replied. “It depends what I do and how I feel…I’m not thinking about contract right now. I just want to be healthy and be mentally convinced that I can play this game.”
Click right here to listen to the entire pre-game session with reporters and Beltre.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said he went with Jack Hannahan over Chris Woodward mainly because he wanted insurance at third base in case Beltre doesn’t come back 100 percent.
‘Obviously, he’s healthy and everything is going good,” Wakamatsu said of Beltre. “But you don’t know if you’ll have to give him a day in the next two or three days. Hanny gives us that option, also at first base. He gives us a quality defender at first base, gives us a lefthanded bat. If we need a shortstop for a short period of time, Hanny can do that. So, I think just overall he gives us a littgle bit more options.”
Woodward took the move in stride.
“You can’t be surprised in this game,” he said. “A guy like me, you’ve always got to expect the unexpected. They obviously want to keep Hannahan in case they have a setback with Beltre. I understand it. I’m definitely going to do all I can to get back up to the major leagues at some point.”
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Wakamatsu has a busy morning tomorrow. He’s been invited to speak at the Negro League Baeball Hall of Fame and Museum here in Kansas City. It’s an interesting place, one I’ve visited a couple of times over the years. The discussion will center around his becoming the first manager of Japanese ancestry in the big leagues and all the tribulations his family went through during the Second World War.
Wakamatsu talked of his conversations years ago with former Dodgers catchers Roy Campanella and Johnny Roseboro — who both helped break the color barrier in the 1950s, when he was breaking in as a professional ballplayer himself in the 1980s.
“Campy used to come out, even in a wheelchair, when I was in big league camp with the Dodgers,” Wakamatsu said. “I got to sit and talk with him quite a bit in the cafeteria. Johnny Roseboro traveled a little bit and would come in and see us (as the Dodgers minor league catching co-ordinator) in Albequerque.”
RF Ichiro
1B Branyan
2B Lopez
DH Griffey
3B Beltre
CF Gutierrez
C Johjima
SS Wilson
LF Saunders
LHP Ryan Rowland-Smith

Comments | Topics: Chris Woodward


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