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July 23, 2010 at 5:30 PM

Mariners catching consultant Roger Hansen says Adam Moore ready to go and “no excuses” for Rob Johnson passed balls

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Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik ordered M’s catching consultant Roger Hansen to rejoin the major league club tonight. Hanson is not in uniform and will meet with Zduriencik shortly, then stay on a few more days. It’s the first time Hansen has been with the major league club since the opening week or so of the season.
This is an interesting time for the team catching-wise. You’d expect Adam Moore to be called up shortly and Rob Johnson is attempting to bounce back from his latest hip problem.
I spoke to Johnson today and he told me he’s been working out on his hips, trying to get his lateral movement back to where it should be.
“I told them I was ready to go last night,” Johnson said.
In fact, the M’s did use Johnson late in their 13-inning loss.
Hanson said he is somewhat surprised by all of the passed balls and wild pitches that have gotten by Johnson. He’s still a huge supporter of the catcher, but says he has to start doing something about all the passed balls and wild pitches getting by him.
“He shouldn’t have that many passed balls,” Hanson said. “There’s obviously a reason. Rob has much better hands as a catcher than that.”
His hips, maybe? Hansen isn’t buying it. He knows Johnson has had hip issues, but said he can’t use that as an excuse at the major league level. He has to find ways to catch the ball.
“There’s no reasons for that,” Hansen said. “What, is he catching a knuckleball guy?”
I did point out to Hansen that Johnson does have a significant number of passed balls and wild pitches on his resume from his minor league days. Hansen acknowledged this and said that Johnson’s hips have indeed caused him issues dating back several years to when he was breaking into the minors.
“He’s had some struggles in the past,” Hansen said. “But with the hip surgeries and all that…the struggles in the past were being able to get into position. He really had trouble with his hips and everything, getting into position. We fought through it since he was young. And he got through it and got to the major leagues, which is really good.
“And then he had the surgeries and in spring training we were looking at him and saying ‘Whoa this is really going to help!’ Because it frees your hands up. It’s going to free your feet up to block. A lot of different things.
“So, I don’t want to go into, ‘Well, his hip’s bothering him now’,” he added. “Because that’s excuses. Forget the excuses. There are no excuses.”
Hansen added that back woes have also long been a problem Johnson has had to overcome. But he’ll have to do it. He concluded by saying, “If he wants to play, he’ll have to make adjustments.”


On the subject of Moore, who Hansen just spent time with at Class AAA Tacoma, he feels he is ready for a second go-around at the majors. Both offensively and defensively.
Hansen wanted to work on his “pace” — how he’s moving around, his body language, how he works with the pitchers. They worked on his ability to block balls in the dirt as well.
“He looks really good,” Hansen said. “He’s ready to come back whenever Jack (Zduriencik) decides to bring him back.”
Hansen said Moore is a different player.
“I think he got sent down and he decided that was never going to happen to him again,” he said. “I think it helped him mature.”
Part of that was preparing himself even more for his next MLB go-around. Moore had a great spring, but was unable to handle his first prolonged slump. He put too much pressure on himself, something Hanson said every young player has to learn to deal with for the first time and simply get back to producing.
“He had confidence when he started the year,” Hansen said. “I think when he comes back now, he’s going to have more confidence. Because he’s done it. He did in in September last year, he made the team out of spring training. Now, he’s coming back. There’s no mystery now. There’s no wondering what’s happening, the start of a season. He’s coming back to get after it.”
In other news, Ryan Rowland-Smith will keep his spot in the rotation for now. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu repeated today that he felt Hyphen was victimized by two bad pitches — both belted for two-run homers.
The big issue for Rowland-Smit will be his ability to make a mechanical adjustment with his front foot.
“We’ve talked to him about it,” Wakamatsu said. “Mechanically, he has a breakdown in his front leg and until he corrects that, I think you’re going to see some inconsistency in his pitches. And at this level, making two pitches like he did yesterday for home runs is not going to get it done. I do believe he can make those adjustments. And he he’s been able to do it in the bullpen but not neccessarily had the trust to carry it into a game.”
For now, the team is sticking by Rowland-Smith based on his track record of the past two years, when he had some success late in the season.
But he’ll have to get the adjustment down at some point.

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