Even Batista waiting for trade to happen
A little perspective is all it takes to make something like a trade delay seem insignificant. Then again, maybe not. After all, Mariners starter...
Seattle Times staff reporter
A little perspective is all it takes to make something like a trade delay seem insignificant.
Then again, maybe not. After all, Mariners starter Miguel Batista has spent the past week supplying medicine to flood victims in five cities in his native Dominican Republic. And that was after Batista went on a whirlwind tour of Panama and Ecuador, raising awareness of baseball and providing equipment to impoverished kids.
But mention the name Erik Bedard, and the voice on the other end of the phone jumps a notch in volume.
"Is the deal done yet?" Batista asks. "When is it going to get done?"
Batista was on the line from Santo Domingo, but might as well have been speaking on behalf of the entire Pacific Northwest. The deal for the Mariners to bring Baltimore Orioles left-hander Bedard into the rotation with Batista, in exchange for Adam Jones, George Sherrill and three minor-leaguers, still has not been finalized.
Bedard is expected to take a physical in Seattle soon, perhaps as early as today, with the trade possibly getting announced later this afternoon or Thursday. It's now 10 days since news of the trade first leaked, and folks like Batista are curious about what the rotation will finally look like when players report for spring training next week.
"It's definitely going to give us a boost," Batista said. "We needed help last year. It's very interesting. We're going to be strong in that area, but there's other areas where we need to get strong too."
Batista wouldn't mind seeing another bat brought in.
"Did they make that deal for Tony Clark?" he asked, speaking of a once-rumored deal the Mariners might sign the aging left-handed hitter.
Despite being behind on some news, Batista has received regular updates about the team from his agent and friends in the Seattle area. His Dominican travels still aren't done as he plans to head back to the northeast city of Samana on Friday to supply penicillin to a hospital.
"It's been too busy for me," he said with a weary sigh, adding that he has also been to the Phoenix area for charity work between his South American and Dominican trips. "I might be the only player looking forward to spring training for a completely different reason. I need a vacation."
But the work in his homeland, he insists, needed to be done.
The Caribbean country was already reeling from Tropical Storm Noel in October when Tropical Storm Olga hit in late December. Dozens died, while floods and mudslides left tens of thousands homeless and created infrastructure losses and health hazards still being felt daily.
Batista and some other Dominican ballplayers like former Mariners outfielder Jose Guillen and Boston Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo appealed to the MLB Players' Association Trust for help. The fund, contributed to by players for emergencies such as these, got in touch with the nonprofit Medicines for Humanity and arranged for $700,000 worth of medications and supplies to be distributed.
Guillen and Lugo are focusing efforts primarily in and around their hometown of San Cristóbal, one of the areas hardest hit. Batista has gone to San Cristóbal as well, but is also picking up the slack in the rest of the country, giving supplies to 2,000 people in places like Santo Domingo, Samana and San Jose de Ocoa.
He travels with doctors, raising awareness of what's going on, giving out the actual supplies and listening to storm victims who tell him what else is needed.
"We talked to all those people from the storms who were affected," he said. "It's not just the damage that's caused. We've given them shots, given out other medication because the water may not be safe to drink."
The people Batista meets on these trips couldn't care less about why a Mariners trade that seemed done two weekends ago still is dragging on.
Sources said Bedard was said to still be at his home near Ottawa, Canada, on Tuesday evening, awaiting instructions on what to do next. Officials in Baltimore were still poring over the results of physicals taken Monday by Jones and Sherrill.
But Batista understands why people can become so obsessed with Hot Stove League talk. It's given him some pleasant distractions as he tends firsthand to some of life's more unpleasant realities.
"It's been tough here," he said. "I can't wait for the baseball season to start."
• More than 150 Mariners games will be broadcast by FSN in high-definition this season, the most the network has ever done. FSN had previously averaged about 107 games, with local stations picking up another 30 or so. All of the team's televised games will be shown in HD either on FSN or as part of MLB's national package on Fox.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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