Jack Cust ready to bring toughness to M’s

Dec 16, 2010, 6:29 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2011, 7:52 pm

AP090729028788 staff

Mariners manager Eric Wedge and general manager Jack Zduriencik have gone out of their way in recent weeks to make it clear that this year’s team must be tougher.

Last week’s signing of designated hitter Jack Cust, who has never been on the disabled list in nine big league seasons, is tangible evidence of that emphasis on toughness.

Cust joined Brock and Salk on Wednesday to discuss his impressions of Wedge, his thoughts on the city of Seattle and his reputation as someone who’s willing to play every day.

“I’ve known guys that have played for (Wedge) and I know guys that have coached with him and everybody says the same thing: this guy wants you to work your butt off but he likes to joke around and have a good time. But when you start the game he wants guys that are going to be ready to play 27 outs and play the game the right way. That’s what I’ve always prided myself on is when I’m out there, I make myself available to the team everyday. I really take pride in not missing any games.

“If I’m on the team, I’m going to be ready to play.”

How will the team’s newfound toughness manifest itself?

“(Wedge) seems like he wants to set the tone as being a tough-guy kind of team, being a team that’s not just going to roll over (but rather) a team that’s going to go into second base hard and take out the second baseman. Not a team that’s just going to get out of the baseline and let a guy flip a double play.”

Cust said he’s fond of the Northwest, having played for San Diego’s Triple-A affiliate in Portland. He spent the last four seasons with the A’s, so he’s plenty familiar with Safeco Field, which he called one of his “two or three” favorite ballparks in baseball. He was also a fan of Ken Griffey Jr. as a kid.

“I’m just excited to be a Mariner,” he said. “It just was the right fit.”

Cust has a couple more reasons why he’s excited about coming to Seattle.

“I’m glad I’m not facing Felix (Hernandez) anymore,” he said. “And I’m glad I don’t have Ichiro and (Franklin Gutierrez) stealing my hits out in the outfield.”

Listen to the entire interview here.

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