Sunday morning, Ryan a ball of energy and Aardsma sharp in pen
Another beautiful day in Oakland. Texas no doubt will be warm, Seattle might be a bit of a shock I am thinking? We shall see.
Today at the ballpark the Athletics are celebrating Japanese Heritage Day with the club donating $1 from every ticket sold to the relief efforts in Japan. There were also pregame ceremonies and special messages including one from Hideki Matsui that were played on the stadium scoreboard. The crowd which included many Japanese fans holding signs asking for prayers and encouragement as well as thanks was silent as a video message from Japan was played.
Those on hand were in for a treat when the game began as in the second inning Matsui collected his 2,500th career hit, a double then promptly was thrown out at third on a laser throw from Ichiro.
Before the game it was a somewhat quiet Sunday morning for the Mariners. Check that. I’m not sure there will be such thing as a quiet anything for the Mariners with Brendan Ryan around. I said it earlier this week if you listen closely you will probably hear him in the background of the majority of interviews this year. He is loud. He has a big personality, he is hard to miss but easy to lose.
Yesterday I tried to corral him for an interview I wanted to do with him and Jack Wilson. Wilson said no problem as far as he was concerned but good luck pinning down Ryan. Ryan said he would be happy to do it but minutes before he was to be on the field with Wilson he was busy trying to get last minute tickets. “I’ll be down in four seconds!” He promised.
I headed to the field and when Wilson saw me alone he laughed. “You gotta hold onto him,” he said shaking his head. I had faith he would be right behind me but as Mariner after Mariner came out of the tunnel there was no Brendan Ryan.
A couple of minutes later he emerged out of the tunnel and walked towards us. This was going to work. I had exactly eight minutes to get it done before stretch. I started the interview and he said, “Hold on one minute,” as he ran to the cage to say hello to Connor Jackson. Wilson started laughing again. “I told you!” he said.
Finally he came back and we were able to get the interview in. It was good but shorter than I wanted because it was time to stretch. Ryan wasn’t done for the day in the entertainment department however. A few minutes later as the team was going through their stretching routine he was kicking a baseball hacky sack or soccer style. It was pretty impressive right until he kicked it into his face. He looked around to see if anyone noticed.
I commented to a colleague that they might want to put a helmet on him. The colleague and said he needed a helmet and a leash. He’s a puppy. Boundless energy and enthusiasm. He got on the team bus seconds before it was scheduled to leave this morning eyes already flashing clutching a giant frozen coffee drink with whipped cream. Sugar and caffeine. Like he needs it. He told me he needs a ton of calories a day. Doesn’t surprise me because it seems like he never stops. I think you will enjoy him.
On to the news and notes…
I watched David Aardsma throw his third bullpen of the spring. He is not on a regular throwing program as of yet rather they are monitoring him pen to pen but today’s session looked great. He threw 30 pitches and after called the session “lights out,” telling me that he really let it go in the final 10 pitches. I had been told previously that he would probably throw 3 or 4 similar pens before being put on a program aimed at getting him ready for game action but I have to wonder if he is closer than that. He looked strong and he was hitting his spots today and if all feels good tomorrow I would imagine they will be able to start looking at a return date…
Texas has flip flopped their rotation for the series with the Mariners. The M’s will face right-hander Alexi Ogando tomorrow and lefty Derek Holland Tuesday. Texas swept the Red Sox in their opening series and in so doing set a club record with 20 extra base hits in their first three games. Wasn’t exactly expecting a soft landing for Bedard and Pineda but wow.
Last night the skipper told me that Adam Kennedy would have been the emergency catcher last night if needed. Today he revealed that Brendan Ryan getting picked off first in the same game was his fault. He put the sign on to go with two outs and two strikes on Saunders. All’s well that ends well. Kennedy didn’t have to catch and the M’s won the game.
That’s about it for now. About 45 minutes after the game we leave for Texas.