Look, everyone! It’s John Jaso, everybody’s forgotten Mariners catcher. Well, he’s not exactly going to catch tonight, but he will get into his second game of the season as a designated hitter.
Jesus Montero will catch for the third time, his second stint with Kevin Millwood on the mound. But manager Eric Wedge said it’s because of Jaso and Montero that Miguel Olivo will get the night off — not to send any message about his play.
“It’s more about getting Jaso in there,” Wedge said. “And getting Montero back behind the plate again. Miggy has played every game except for one — and he DH’d that one game. So, it was a good time to get him a day off coupled with yesterday’s off-day.”
I spoke to Jaso in the clubhouse a short while ago. He told me it’s been a good six years since he’d last gone this deep into a season without a start at catcher.
He had shoulder surgery in 2005, then opened the 2006 season in the minors largely as a DH.
Jaso told me there are things he’s been forcing himself to do to stay ready.
“You have to take BP seriously,” he said. “When you play every day, you can use BP to get loose. But when you’re not playing every day, you can use it to stay sharp and get better.”
One of the things he does is wait longer for the slower batting practice pitches to cross the plate before swinging. While it doesn’t allow him to pull the ball for some of the long home runs you see in BP, it does help him see the ball better and work on the timing of his swing.
Jaso also uses his time to communicate with the team’s pitchers and get to know their tendancies and likes and dislikes. “I have a passion for watching the mechanics of pitchers,” he said.
In other news, Franklin Gutierrez is still not ready to go out on any rehabiliation assignments.
“He’s doing fine, he’s throwing,” Wedge said. “He continues to stretch out his throwing. Just swinging and hitting and doing fine there. So, we’re just moving the process along, really. We don’t have a time as yet for when we’re going to get him out. When we get him out, we have to make sure he’s ready to play.”
As mentioned previously, it was always going to be next to impossible for the Mariners to get Gutierrez back before May after he missed all of spring training. Despite some rather optimistic pronouncements by the team a couple of weeks back, it’s now looking like Gutierrez will indeed wind up needing more than two months to get back on the field with Seattle.
He got hurt on Feb. 29. So, anything before mid-May at this point would be a bonus.
Finally, if you attended the home opener and got stuck in one of those long concessions lines because of a failure of stadium computer systems, the Mariners would like to apologize and make it up to you.
They are offering free tickets to games in April or May, plus a $5 concessions credit, to fans who attended Friday’s game. The team has email addresses of most of the fans who bought tickets and will be contacting them to let them know details on how to get their free tickets.
Other fans can show ticket stubs or proof of purchase to Friday’s game to claim their new tickets.
There will be 18 games to choose from and each make-up ticket will come pre-loaded with the $5 credit.
“We want our fans to have a positive experience with the Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field,” team president Chuck Armstrong said. “What happened Friday night was unacceptable and I offer my sincere apology to all those fans who suffered through the long lines and inconvenience. The guest experience on Opening Night was nowhere close to meeting our standards and we want to make it up to our fans.”
CF Michael Brantley
2B Jason Kipnis
RF Shin Soo-Choo
C Carlos Santana
DH Travis Hafner
LF Shelley Duncan
1B Casey Kotchman
3B Jack Hannahan
SS Jason Donald
RHP Justin Masterson
RF Chone Figgins
2B Dustin Ackley
1B Justin Smoak
3B Kyle Seager
C Jesus Montero
CF Michael Saunders
SS Brendan Ryan
DH John Jaso
RHP Kevin Millwood