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April 12, 2011 at 5:10 PM

Chone Figgins still out, meaning Luis Rodriguez is back in there at third base

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Just a reminder that we’ll have Geoff Baker Live! coming up at 6 p.m. PT live from FX McRory’s in Pioneer Square.
That’s Luis Rodriguez in the photo above, working out today at third base during batting practice, The Mariners are again going with Rodriguez at the hot corner, with Chone Figgins still nursing a badly bruised thumb.
Rodriguez was a bit of a media star today. Everybody was scrambling to figure out just who the heck he is.
The one thing he said was that a change to a heavier bat last season resulted in his hitting more home runs than before. His father, a very good softball player in Venezuela, suggested the switch. The elder Rodriguez also told his son to ‘work out a little bit more and maybe hit some home runs” the M’s infielder said.
That he did.
Rodriguez greatly impressed M’s hitting coach Chris Chambliss when the two paired together in Class AAA Charlotte, a White Sox affiliate, last season.
“Luis is a very good fundamental ballplayer,” Chambliss told me. “He comes from the Minnesota Twins organization and, as some of us know about the Twins, there’s something they’re doing over there that’s real special.
“They develop real strong guys that are good fundamental ballplayers, hitting and fielding-wise. Other than that, he’s talented, he’s versatile, he’s a switch-hitter.”

Not only that, Chambliss added, but he’s a good two-strike hitter as well. We saw some of that last night when Rodriguez fell behind 0-2 in the count before working a 10-pitch at-bat in which he finally connected for the game-winning single.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he loved the way Rodriguez swung the bat in spring training. I asked Wedge how he judged that swing, given that Rodriguez was a sub-.200 hitter all camp long.
Wedge replied that he never look at spring training batting numbers — mainly because they’re often inflated against bad pitching.
So, even though the reverse was true in Rodriguez’s case, his manager’s philosophy worked in his favor. Wedge said that he instead judged Rodriguez on the quality of his at-bats and that a lot of it looked like what we saw last night.
In other news, David Aardsma threw a bullpen session today, and will likely toss a two-inning simulated game on Friday in Kansas City. After that, depending on how he feels, the team could send him out on a minor league rehabilitation assignment next week.
Jack Cust gets a night off tonight. Milton Bradley will be the DH.
The lineups:
SS Yunel Escobar
CF Corey Patterson
RF Jose Bautista
1B Adam Lind
2B Aaron Hill
C J.P. Arencibia
LF Travis Snider
DH Edwin Encarnacion
3B Jayson Nix
LHP Ricky Romero
RF Ichiro
2B Jack Wilson
DH Milton Bradley
C Miguel Olivo
1B Justin Smoak
3B Luis Rodriguez
LF Michael Saunders
SS Brendan Ryan
CF Ryan Langerhans
RHP Michael Pineda

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins


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