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May 23, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Liddi’s spot on roster seems secure

With all the talk about what the Mariners will do when Miguel Olivo comes off the disabled list — a decision that will need to be made any day now — I’ve got to think that sending Alex Liddi down is now off the table.
I felt that way even before Liddi hit a grand slam and double in Wednesday’s game. But it’s hard to see how his showing today in the Mariners’ 5-3 win over Texas didn’t lock down his roster spot. It would seem to me that unless the Mariners pull a surprise, it’s down to Casper Wells going down to Tacoma to get regular playing time, or Chone Figgins getting cut.

Eric Wedge was talking before the game how he wants to get Liddi more playing time because of the damage he can do at the plate. And Liddi has ncreased his versatility by playing first base and left field in addition to third base. Wedge has even mentioned him as a candidate at shortstop on occasion. Granted, he botched a fly ball in left today — just his second game at that position — but you’ve got to think he’ll learn from that. Liddi said he had trouble navigating the wall, and then when he looked up, he lost the ball in the glare. Even though it was a gloomy, cloud-covered afternoon, it was still bright, and Liddi didn’t have his glasses down. That won’t likely happen again.
“I couldn’t tell how far the fence was,” he said. “When I looked up again, the ball went into the shadow of the sun. The sun was covered by clouds, but it was still bright. I kind of lost it a little bit.”
Wedge had said before the game it was inevitable that Liddi was going to get a test in left, because he hadn’t before. Sure enough, that’s what happened. Here’s what Wedge also said before the game about Liddi in left: “I think that needs to be an option for us for him. If you’re talking about a guy that can play first, third and left field, with thump in his bat, there’s a lot of value in that. I want to try to get him in there more, and this is a way to do it.”
Liddi was asked after the game how you say grand slam in Italian. Turns out it’s “grand slam.” Same words.
Liddi said he was fired up when Dustin Ackley was walked intentionally ahead of him.
“As a hitter, that was a good challenge,” Lidd said. “You want to do it because they walked the guy in front of you. I’m always pumped when that happens, no matter if I do it or not. He had been throwing a pretty good sinker down in the zone, and he was trying to get me to hit a ground ball, so I was looking for a pitch up so I could hit a fly ball or drive it.”
He drove it all right, a screaming liner that barely cleared the scoreboard. Liddi was pushed out for a curtain call by Justin Smoak.
“It was a good moment,” Liddi said. “You always see big-time guys do it. When you get to do it, it’s a good thing.”
Liddi, who was making his second career start in left field, was asked when he would become one of those “big-time guys.”
“I don’t know,” he answered with a grin. “Hopefully one day. If I keep showing what I can do, maybe one day.”
It looks to me like Liddi is going to keep getting a chance to show what he can do.

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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