Say, look at who just showed up to inspect the merchandise. Yes, it’s team president Chuck Armstrong, who walked in here with GM Jack Zduriencik as the Mariners were taking batting practice. Armstrong was just as the owners’ meetings in Wisconsin, along with Zduriencik, so it’s a quick hop over here to Cleveland from there.
This way, they can keep a close eye on the new coaching staff and see how things are progressing. Make sure there are no mutiny attempts, stuff like that. Or, just do some routine evaluating.
One of the players they’ll be evaluating these next several weeks is left fielder Michael Saunders, back in the lineup today after sitting out the weekend and much of this week with a bruised rotator cuff. He got it colliding with a wall in the Kansas City series last week.
Saunders was a bit nervous at the time, since it’s the same shoulder he had labrum surgery on. But team medical director Dr. Edward Khalfayan, who did the labrum surgery on Saunders, was at the park the night of his latest collision and checked him out right away.
“He told me it had good mobility and strength in it, so it was going to be OK,” Saunders said.
Saunders knows he’s auditioning for a job next season. But he isn’t putting pressure on himself because of it.
“Trying to be consostent is the big thing,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from last year. Learning from failure sometimes, I think, is a lot better than learning from successful seasons.”
Saunders didn’t start off all that well up here this season either. But he kept his cool.
“I know I was hitting .200 for a while, but I just stayed positive,” he said. “I know I’m not a .200 hitter and I just kept telling myself that.”
The biggest difference between this season and last, he added, is that he isn’t so intimidated by the entire big league atmosphere. He admitted to me that, last season, he got a little too caught up in reading player names on the backs of jerseys rather than just treating them like other players.
“There were times when I’d wonder if I belonged up here,” he said. “I mean, everyone’s up here for a reason. They all have good swings, they all have good mechanics. It’s just getting the mental adjustment made that makes all the difference.
“I think it was a big mental adjustment for me coming up here at age 22. I know I’m only hitting around .240 (.234) still, and that’s not me. I can do better. But I’m not letting the mental side of it get to me like I used to. I know I’ll do better with time.”
Milton Bradley isn’t coming along quite so well with his knee injury. He was eligible to come off the DL on Aug. 10, but manager Daren Brown says he’s still a ways off.
Brown watched Bradley on an eliptical machine today and said the outfielder still felt discomfort.
On another note, for those of you who missed my Twitter update earlier, the Braves have yet to contact the Mariners about dealing for Chone Figgins in the wake of the Chipper Jones injury. At least, that’s what my sources tell me.
2B Chone Figgins
DH Russell Branyan
3B Jose Lopez
CF Franklin Gutierrez
1B Casey Kotchman
C Adam Moore
LF Michael Saunders
SS Josh Wilson
RHP David Pauley
CF Michael Brantley (Mickey’s kid)
SS Asdrubal Cabrera (Bavasi)
RF Shin-Soo Choo (Bavasi)
DH Jordan Brown
LF Trevor Crowe
1B Andy Marte
3B Luis Valbuena (Zduriencik)
2B Jason Donald
C Chris Gimenez
RHP Fausto Carmona
Yeah, that’s quite the ex-Mariners lineage in the Indians lineup. Mariners counter with Guti and the new pitching coach.