Mariners won’t say whether Jack Zduriencik has received a contract extension
Team won’t say whether general manager Jack Zduriencik has had his contract extended for the 2014 season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik once again declined to comment Friday when reporters asked whether he has a contract extension for 2014.
Zduriencik cited a club policy on not discussing contracts in public.
“Again, we don’t comment on a contract issue, as I’ve said many times,’’ Zduriencik said. “But, I’m raring to go.’’
But when Zduriencik was given his previous contract extension in August 2011, the team put out a news release announcing it, complete with quotes from team president Chuck Armstrong.
When Zduriencik was asked about the apparent discrepancy, a club spokesman cut off the questioning and suggested it be directed to the GM’s bosses. Earlier this week, Armstrong also cited club policy in declining to answer whether Zduriencik had received an extension.
Armstrong also said at the time that the Mariners were not courting New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman, who the team sought to interview five years ago before hiring Zduriencik. Cashman’s deal with the Yankees expires after 2014, though there has been media speculation in New York he could seek to leave early, making him available to other clubs this winter.
Club sources say Zduriencik was given an extension for 2014 shortly after last season’s 75-87 campaign ended. The existence of an extension doesn’t necessarily mean the Mariners would bring Zduriencik back — though sources say this will happen — because they could simply buy out the final year.
Zduriencik was asked Friday whether the team has told him he’ll be back.
“We haven’t really had those discussions,’’ Zduriencik said. “I have a job to do and I just do the job every day. I know my situation and I do what I do. I do the best I can at doing it and proceed as things are.’’
Mariners catcher Henry Blanco had a lengthy pregame chat with Angels manager Mike Scioscia, the man he credits with converting him to a new position. Scioscia, 54, and Blanco, 41, were players together in the Dodgers’ organization 20 years ago — Scioscia as a major leaguer and Blanco in the minors.
In 1997, Scioscia, by then a catching coordinator with the team, suggested Blanco move from third base to behind the plate.
“That was his idea,’’ Blanco said. “I don’t think I had anywhere else to go in the organization besides becoming a catcher. And basically, he taught me everything I know.
“I was talking to him about his staff and asking him if he remembered all the time he put in with me helping me to be a catcher, and he told me he remembered.’’
Injured Mariners catcher Mike Zunino caught his first bullpen session Friday after taking early live batting practice for the first time. Zunino is coming off surgery after breaking a bone in his wrist late last month and is hopeful for a September return.
One of the things he’s getting used to is the feel of the bat without the hamate bone in his wrist.
“A little bit different,’’ he said. “...Obviously, with them taking the bone out, it’s going to change how some stuff is, but I’ve felt really comfortable. I’ve sort of felt like I didn’t miss a beat. I’ve been able to swing at 100 percent almost right away. And it felt really good today hitting off the live arm.’’
Dustin Ackley was back at his old second-base position for a night Friday as Nick Franklin recovers from a laceration on his left knee. Franklin could be back this weekend.
Brad Miller had played second in Franklin’s absence on Wednesday with Brendan Ryan moving back to shortstop. But with a right-handed Angels pitcher on the mound Friday in Garrett Richards, the Mariners sat Ryan and stacked their lineup with left-handed bats — meaning Ackley at second base and Michael Saunders in center.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @gbakermariners. Read his daily blog at www.seattletimes.com/Mariners.