Mariners after Ichiro plus news and notes
By Shannon Drayer
The Yankees leave with a 2-1 series win and one Ichiro. Now the Mariners move on.
It is more so about the youth than ever before this season. Casper Wells, Carlos Peguero and Michael Saunders are in the outfield. John Jaso has been seeing more and more time behind the plate and Jesus Montero has been playing nearly every day. With Justin Smoak now in Tacoma Eric Wedge is left with the most manageable roster he has had all season. There is much less juggling to do for now.
“This is probably the most manageable number we have had in that regard,” he said, “but we have got other guys who aren’t even here, so we can change that in a hurry.”
Is he turning up the heat a little bit? While the young players were given plenty of opportunity to go out and play and not worry about not being in the lineup earlier this season, Wedge doesn’t want them thinking that way now.
“You need to feel comfortable, but you can’t because you haven’t proven yourself yet,” he said. “You’ve got to get to the point where, ‘I’d be doing better if I were in the lineup everyday…’ It doesn’t work that way. This is not a charity case; you have got to earn your way into it. You have got to understand and be at peace with the pressure that goes along with it.”
Wedge said he believes the team has been handling that pressure better since the All-Star break. We shall see if that translates into better numbers on the field.
Back to Ichiro, who made a couple of visits the last two days to the Mariners’ clubhouse to gather his belongings and talk with teammates and staff. I was told that he brought a bunch of autographed items for his former teammates, which is not at all odd. Players from both sides often request autographed jerseys, bats, balls, etc. from some of the bigger-name players.
Ichiro could be seen around the field Wednesday saying numerous goodbyes to the field staff, fans, groundskeepers, just about everyone he ran into. He was very gracious and very warm in these exchanges.
One thing that has been rough for me is saying goodbye for now to a number of the Japanese media members that I have worked alongside for so many years. Their lives have been thrown into flux the last few days as some will relocate to New York for the final months of the season and some will not. After that Ichiro is a free agent, so they most likely will be on the move again. This has been home for many of them the past decade so this has been a very tough few days for them.
The Yankees aren’t just getting Ichiro, they’re getting a handful of fine reporters and people as well. Makes me think the Mariners should have received more in the trade.
News and notes
So if seeing Ichiro in a Yankees uniform and wearing number 31 isn’t strange enough, did you notice he has lost his “Ichiro” as well? The Yankees don’t put names on their jerseys.
Franklin Gutierrez has been headache free for three days and his most recent tests all came back negative, which is very good news. He has been cleared to resume physical activity and should progress to baseball activity as long as the headaches do not pop up again.
Erasmo Ramirez threw three scoreless innings in his first rehab start for Tacoma Wednesday.
Charlie Furbush’s MRI on his left triceps came back negative and he has been playing catch the last two days. No word yet on when he will progress to throwing a bullpen.
Big weekend coming up with the Mariners’ Hall of Fame inductions of Randy Johnson and Dan Wilson. Just a heads up, that game will not be televised but we will carry the pregame ceremonies live on 710 ESPN Seattle.
Mariners Social Media Night is coming up Wednesday, Aug. 1. You can get a discounted ticket to the game, #Mariners T-shirt and an invitation to a pregame event at which Dave Sims, Shawn Kelley, Lucas Luetge, Charlie Furbush and yours truly are all scheduled to appear. More information can be found on the Mariners website. Grab an $11 ticket and stop by and say hi!