Position Battles Aren’t Only For NFL Training Camps

Aug 11, 2009, 5:02 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:55 pm

After last nights dramatic home run, Kenji Johjima has started the debate as to who should be the Mariners go-to-guy behind the plate. Johjima’s two run blast in the sixth inning broke a 4-4 tie and gave the Mariners a 6-4 lead. The Mariners were able to hold on and win game one against the White Sox by that same score.

After the game, manager Don Wakamatsu told the media that the game winning home run has earned Kenji the start on Tuesday night. There is no telling what that means for the future, but it seems as though Johjima is making a stronger push to be the prominent catcher for the Mariners. Going into Tuesday’s game, Johnson has 56 starts to Johjima’s 41. Rob Johnson’s catchers era is much lower than Kenji’s, but Johjima’s batting average is 21 points higher. Johjima has also thrown out 57% of base stealers to Johnson’s 32%.

Insiders Jim Moore and Bill Haselman joined Kevin to discuss the position battle on Tuesday’s edition of the Kevin Calabro show. Kevin has been very impressed with Johnson’s ability to call a game saying, “It is almost unheard of in professional sports to come in as a rookie as he has and command the kind of respect that he has.”

kenji johjima rob johnson

Jim Moore would like to see a little more respect for Johjima. Johnson gets a lot of credit for his ability to communicate with the pitching staff, credit that Johjima seldom receives. Moore asked Kevin, “Is Johjima that poor with the communication with the pitchers? […] I have a hard time believing that a veteran catcher like this guy can be that bad.”

Bill Haselman wants the Mariners to find and name a starter that they can stick to. He said, “I’m a big believer in one catcher, one guy no matter who it is and that’s your guy.” When Jim Moore asked Haselman who he would like to see play, he answered quite bluntly saying, “I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of either one.” Understanding that both backstops will receive time, Haselman gave his suggestion for how the platoon system should work. “I’d say ok, Rob Johnson here’s two guys, Johjima here’s three guys. These are your guys the rest of the year.”

Catch all of Haselman’s thoughts here.

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