Notebook | Sexson doesn't fret over future
Few expect Richie Sexson to be wearing a Mariners uniform much longer, but new manager Jim Riggleman, like his predecessor, is still hoping...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Today | @ Atlanta, 4 p.m., FSN | M's LH Jarrod Washburn (2-7, 5.83) vs. RH Jair Jurrjens (7-3, 3.43).
Sunday | @ Atlanta, 10:30 a.m., FSN | M's RH Carlos Silva (3-8, 5.79) vs. RH Tim Hudson (7-4, 2.82)
Monday | @ N.Y. Mets, 4:10 p.m., FSN | M's RH Felix Hernandez (6-5, 2.87) vs. LH Johan Santana (7-5, 3.04).
Tuesday | @ N.Y. Mets, 4:10 p.m., FSN | M's RH R.A. Dickey (1-3, 5.57) vs. LH Oliver Perez (5-4, 5.06).
Wednesday | @ N.Y. Mets, 4:10 p.m., FSN | M's LH Erik Bedard (4-4, 3.97) vs. RH John Maine (7-5, 3.78)
ATLANTA — Few expect Richie Sexson to be wearing a Mariners uniform much longer, but new manager Jim Riggleman, like his predecessor, is still hoping for a revival by the slumping first baseman.
"He's still a young man," Riggleman said. "He's not done at 33. He's going to get out there and hopefully get it turned around. Maybe it's something he does where something goes off in his head and he says, 'There it is. Now I feel it.' We have to run him out there to see if he gets that feeling."
Apparently, it didn't come Friday. Sexson went 0 for 3, striking out twice, to drop his average to .216. The Mariners are believed to be contemplating releasing Sexson, or designating him for assignment.
Sexson had been ducking reporters recently, but he held court before Friday's game. Asked if he expected to be with the team when the trip ended, he replied:
"I don't know. I'm just going to play. I really can't worry about that, and I'm not going to worry about that. I know if things don't work out here, there's a lot of other teams out there. I know I can still play the game. I'm not worried about never playing again. It doesn't concern me."
Speaking earlier in the day in a conference call, fired manager John McLaren, a steadfast Sexson backer during his tenure, said a change of scenery might help him.
"Richie's really bearing down," McLaren said. "He needs to reach a relaxed stage, and I don't know if he'll be able to do that with everyone looking at him and all the speculation. He's still strong. It makes you wonder if he gets a fresh start someplace else if it wouldn't be better for him."
Sexson didn't seem to dispute that.
"It's no secret that it's kind of a tough environment for me around there," he said of Seattle. "I think you got 30,000 to 40,000 people that just as soon see me in the electric chair than play first base."
Ichiro praises McLaren
Ichiro gave an impassioned tribute to McLaren, with whom he enjoyed a close personal relationship.
"There's really no words to express how I was feeling," he said of McLaren's firing. "My relationship with Mac started in 1999 when I came over for spring training with the Mariners, and since then he's been really good to me. I came here in 2001 to play in the big leagues, and we spent some amazing seasons together.
"Even after he left for the Devil Rays [in 2003], he still treated me the same way he always has. He's a special person to me. Every game this season, up to now, I would always see his face, and then go into the game. For me to not see his face today made me very sad.
"But I have to face reality. We still have more than half the season left, I know because of that, we all need to look forward."
Ichiro said he wants to see McLaren manage again.
"At the end of the day, the way this team is, it's our fault, it's not the manager's fault. In a way, he kind of became the martyr of the situation. I think our record expresses not the managerial skill of him, but the skill of us as players.
"I would definitely like to see him manage again, not only in the United States. With his personality, he's the kind of guy I think would be a good manager in Japan also."
Some other comments from McLaren during a half-hour conference call with reporters, which he ended when a call came in from Lou Piniella:
On his firing: "It wasn't a shock. I thought I was going to do it [manage] a little while longer, but I understand. This thing has not been going right for a long time. I surely have to take responsibility. I understand the situation the organization is in. They've been good to me."
On staying active in the Seattle organization for the remainder of his contract, believed to be through the 2009 season: "I've always been from the school where I've earned my money. I don't plan on sitting. Right now, I plan on regrouping, getting my feet on the ground, and getting my thoughts together. I had a couple of suggestions where I could help in a couple of places and scout a little. I work for my money."
On whether he feels he deserves a chance to manage again: "I do. For whatever reason, I still have confidence in myself. I feel like I'm prepared, I feel I know the game, communicate well and work hard."
• Right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow, who had taken over the Mariners' closing duties since J.J. Putz went on the disabled list, remained in Seattle on Thursday when the team flew to Atlanta, and will probably miss the Braves series.
The Mariners hope Morrow (back spasms) will be back with the team for their three-game series with the Mets that begins Monday in New York.
• Friday's game took a toll on both teams. Mariners starter Erik Bedard left after three innings because of back spasms, and the Braves lost National League batting leader Chipper Jones in the eighth (strained right quad) and shortstop Yunel Escobar in the ninth (strained right hip flexor).
For the record
vs. AL West: 10-14
vs. L.A.: 3-6
vs. Oakland: 3-2
vs. Texas: 4-6
vs. AL East: 8-17
vs. AL Cent.: 4-10
vs. NL: 4-6
vs. LHP: 5-13
vs. RHP: 21-34
Extra innings: 3-2
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:27 PM
Catcher Gregg Zaun retires after 16 seasons
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