In his postgame press conference following the Mariners’ 6-5 win over the Blue Jays Sunday afternoon, manager Lloyd McClendon was asked about the performance of Mike Zunino, who has a six-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .450 with four doubles and four RBI.
“First of all, I didn’t do it, Edgar (Martinez) did it. I’m not going to take credit for that,” he answered before going into some of the mechanical changes Zunino has made.
I think it is something that we have all wondered – when is it appropriate to give Edgar Martinez credit for the positives we are seeing with the offense? In addition to the progress with individuals like Zunino, the Mariners, who were averaging 3.32 runs per game when Edgar took over as hitting coach June 20, are averaging 4.16 runs per game since.
“I think that has something to do with it, absolutely,” said McClendon before the Mariners took the field against the Diamondbacks Monday night. “I think he’s had an impact with Zunino, (Brad) Miller, he’s working with (Logan) Morrison to try and get him going, and the other guys are playing up to the back of their bubblegum cards. They’re doing the things that they are capable of doing, and that always helps.”
The uptick coincides with Robinson Cano’s turnaround. Perhaps that was to be expected, or not; perhaps it would have taken longer. Impossible to know, but Cano no doubt has no problem listening to what Edgar has to say.
“I’ve always said that if you can’t reach them, then you can’t teach them,” McClendon said. “There’s obviously a certain amount of instant respect when it comes to a guy like Edgar because of the career that he had. That makes guys eager to listen and buy in. I think that helps in a lot of different aspects of the ballgame.”
From the physical side of tweaks of mechanics to the mental side of approach, Edgar appears to have had an impact.
• Charlie Furbush was scheduled to throw from the mound today for the first time since going on the DL with biceps tendinitis. Furbush has missed 14 games.
• The Mariners made a minor league trade before the game, acquiring J.C. Ramirez from the Diamondbacks for cash. Ramirez was originally signed by the Mariners in 2005, then traded to the Phillies as part of the Cliff Lee deal.
• McClendon revealed that the coaches found something that would indicate that Fernando Rodney has been tipping his pitches. Rodney has allowed runs in six of his last eight games. Before that streak he went nine games without surrendering a run. While command has been an issue, he has had good stuff. A scout I talked to noted this, and also said that it appeared hitters have been laying off the changeup of late, which could be an indication he was tipping.