Tampa Bay memories float back for John Jaso
Jaso remembers playoff run with Rays
Seattle Times staff reporter
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When John Jaso came out onto Tropicana Field on Monday, several of his old Tampa Bay teammates began calling out "Mikey" to greet him — much to the confusion of his new Seattle teammates.
Turns out Jaso got tagged with the Mikey nickname as a rookie by Rays first baseman Carlos Pena, who didn't know his name and addressed him as Mikey one day on the team bus.
"It's cool to be back here," said Jaso, who was on playoff teams with the Rays in both 2010 and 2011. "Those are all my friends."
Jaso said it was especially meaningful to see the "162 Landing" in left field that commemorates Evan Longoria's walkoff homer in the final game of last season that put the Rays in the postseason as Boston collapsed down the stretch.
"Memories do come back when you see all the things again," he said.
Meanwhile, Jaso still hasn't seen one minute of action behind the plate for Seattle as the Mariners play their 24th game. And he continues to say he's not upset at his lack of playing time, so far limited to four starts at designated hitter, as well as three pinch-hitting appearances. He's now batting .278 (5 for 18) and his clutch hitting has been instrumental in two wins.
"No, it doesn't bother me," he said. "I'm here at the big-league level. I've worked too hard and too long in the minor leagues to really be angry about anything up here. I get put in here and there and try to help the team wherever I can. I really love watching mechanics — hitting mechanics and pitching mechanics. Being down in the bullpen a lot, I get to work with the pitchers. If I see they have questions, I can maybe approach them with something like that. I really enjoy that stuff. I'm happy right where I am."
• Josh Lueke, the reliever the Mariners sent to Tampa Bay for Jaso, made the opening-day roster because Kyle Farnsworth started the year on the disabled list. But after giving up seven earned runs in 2-1/3 innings in his first two outings, Lueke was sent to the minors.
Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or email@example.com.
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