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Originally published Monday, November 1, 2010 at 6:09 PM

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Mariners talking with Leon Durham about hitting-coach position

Former Cubs slugger Leon Durham is being considered by the Mariners for the job of hitting coach under new manager Eric Wedge.

Seattle Times staff reporter

A former All-Star hitter, also synonymous with the Chicago Cubs' playoff curse two decades before anyone had heard of Steve Bartman, is being considered for the Mariners' coaching staff.

Leon Durham, a two-time All-Star first baseman who posted a .277 batting average and .831 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 10 major-league seasons, is a candidate for Mariners hitting coach. Durham was one of the best hitters the Cubs had in the 1980s, but is largely remembered for a critical, tide-turning error in a decisive Game 5 of the 1984 National League Championship Series against San Diego.

Sources say the Mariners have spoken to Durham, as well as to former Philadelphia hitting coach Milt Thompson, who was fired in July. Durham spent this season as the Class AAA hitting coach for the Toledo Mud Hens under manager Larry Parrish, recently hired as Atlanta Braves hitting coach.

Alan Cockrell began the 2010 season as Mariners hitting coach, but was fired May 9 and replaced by AAA hitting instructor Alonzo Powell.

The Mariners are also, sources say, talking to Baltimore Orioles bench coach Jeff Datz about a job. It's widely believed Datz will soon be bounced from his Baltimore job by former Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu, who has a standing offer from Orioles manager Buck Showalter to join his staff.

Datz served as both a bench coach and third-base coach under new Mariners manager Eric Wedge in Cleveland. It's more likely the Mariners would want him to coach third base, a revolving door of sorts in Seattle since the start of the 2009 season.

Bruce Hines handled third-base duties in 2009, then wasn't invited back. Mike Brumley began the 2010 season coaching third, but swapped spots with first-base coach Lee Tinsley partway through the campaign.

Ichiro voted

top right fielder

Ichiro was named a winner of the Fielding Bible Award for the third time. Ichiro was voted the top right fielder in major-league baseball by a panel of voters, including Fielding Bible author John Dewan, sabermetrics guru Bill James and columnists Peter Gammons and Joe Posnanski.

Unlike the Gold Glove awards, voted on by coaches and awarded in each league, the Fielding Bible Awards only give out one prize at each position and take modern defensive statistics heavily into account.

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or gbaker@seattletimes.com.

Read his daily blog at www.seattletimes.com/Mariners

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