Third baseman Alex Liddi went out and took some grounders at first base during pitchers fielding practice (PFP) this morning. It turns out, he’ll be doing that a lot more often this spring, both in workouts and in games.
“We’re going to bounce him back between first and third,” Wedge said. “It’s not so much about everybody else. It’s about him and everybody else. As he is working at making that transition from the minor leagues to the big leagues — and we’re not sure how it’s going to play out this spring — I want it to be an option for him.”
Kyle Seager was also out there at first base, but, unlike with Liddi, Wedge said that’s merely part of PFP drills and not a similar attempt to give him more versatility.
The Mariners will have Chone Figgins, Seager and Carlos Guillen looking for playing time at third base this spring. In the minors, Francisco Martinez, who some consider the key to last summer’s Doug Fister trade, will be playing third base in Class AAA as well.
That leaves Liddi getting somewhat squeezed out of action if he’s limited to the hot corner. Wedge said moving over to the other corner will help with that.
“It can only help him and only help us with that versatility,” Wedge said. “He’s a big kid, right-handed and he’s dabbled over there before.”
The Mariners have switch-hitter Justin Smoak as their first base regular, while left fielder Mike Carp came up as a first baseman but bats from the left side. So, a pure right-handed bat at the position wouldn’t hurt.
So, get used to seeing Liddi over at first base for more than just pitchers fielding practice. If he does OK at spring training, he’ll likely be playing games over on that side when the AAA season begins.
No, I don’t see Liddi making the M’s out of spring training. He struck out quite often last season in both AAA and the majors in September — that latter promotion more a reward for his minor league season than anything else. He’ll have to make strides in correcting that before he gets a full-time look in the majors.