M's Notebook | Burke's squeeze takes breath from Rangers
The Mariners' sixth-inning squeeze turned out to be a heads-up play, and not just because it worked. The pitch to Mariners catcher Jamie...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Mariners' sixth-inning squeeze turned out to be a heads-up play, and not just because it worked.
The pitch to Mariners catcher Jamie Burke from Rangers starter Robinson Tejeda appeared to be coming straight for Burke's head.
"At least it was almost at eye level," Burke joked.
That gave him a better perspective to see his bat hit the ball as he contorted his body to get the bunt down as Yuniesky Betancourt was running home. Burke lost his balance and performed a somersault before he was thrown out at first.
Betancourt scored on the play as the Mariners scratched out the first of the four runs they scored in the sixth. Betancourt hit a fly ball to center field to start the inning, which Texas outfielder Marlon Byrd lost in the sun. Betancourt reached second base for a double. He stole third with one out. Texas manager Ron Washington came out to argue the call at third, and Mariners bench coach John McLaren said he called for the squeeze on the next pitch.
"I like the squeeze," McLaren said. "It keeps the other team honest. You've got to pick your spots. The situation was there, and it worked out great so we can all smile about it."
A.B. seeks abs
Today | vs. Baltimore, 7:05 p.m., FSN | M's RHP Felix Hernandez (3-3, 4.10) vs. LHP Erik Bedard (4-3, 3.67).
Tuesday | vs. Baltimore, 7:05 p.m., FSN | M's RHP Cha Seung Baek (3-2, 4.93) vs. LHP Brian Burres (3-2, 3.08).
Wednesday | vs. Baltimore, 1:35 p.m., no TV | M's LHP Jarrod Washburn (5-4, 3.57) vs. RHP Daniel Cabrera (4-6, 4.72).
Friday | @ San Diego, 7:05 p.m., FSN | M's RHP Miguel Batista (6-4, 5.43) vs. RHP Justin Germano (4-0, 1.74).
Saturday | @ San Diego, 7:05 p.m., FSN | M's TBA vs. LHP David Wells (3-3, 4.79).
The Mariners didn't have batting practice as a team with the early-afternoon start, but Adrian Beltre came bounding toward the cage with a bat and batting gloves, ready to step in as Jeff Weaver pitched a simulated game.
Beltre was met with a red light from the coaches.
"We just had to have a little man-to-man talk," McLaren said.
Beltre injured his left thumb when he dove to his right on Friday night. Beltre missed his second consecutive game, replaced in the lineup by Willie Bloomquist, who had two hits Saturday night.
"I know he really feels the heat by Willie getting a couple of hits," McLaren joked. "We told him that, but we assured him that Wally Pipp wasn't coming through the gates again."
Jason Ellison went through three bats hitting against Weaver in a simulated game.
It wasn't the lumber Weaver worked through, but the location of his pitches that he felt best about.
"I felt strong the whole way through," Weaver said. "[I] threw all my pitches for strikes and just looking forward to when I get back out there."
That could be this week, though McLaren said that's a subject that will have to await manager Mike Hargrove's return to the team today.
As for the velocity Weaver was missing before he went on the disabled list because of tendinitis, McLaren said a Sunday morning workout is no final judgment.
• Relief pitcher Mark Lowe is scheduled for a bullpen session today as he continues his comeback from elbow surgery. He is on the disabled list, but if all goes well he may be about a month away from throwing in a game.
Lowe underwent microfracture surgery in October and an arthroscopic procedure in February to clean up the joint. Lowe (1-0 in 2006) hit 100 mph with a fastball last year.
• An eruption was coming. McLaren knew that.
He'd spent too much time around Lou Piniella to miss the signs. The mounting frustration and losses. And so the vehemence of Piniella's argument on Saturday — when Piniella kicked dirt on an umpire — didn't come as a total shock.
"Knowing Lou like I do, he needed to get that out of inside of him," McLaren said. "He had been holding that inside for a long time, and I do think he got most of it out."
McLaren and Norm Charlton tried to call Piniella on Saturday, and McLaren called again Sunday. He only reached Piniella's voice mail, so he called Matt Sinatro, the Cubs' first-base coach, to make sure his message got passed along.
"I know he's frustrated," McLaren said. "Better things are to come ... I know Lou's going to get them going. If anybody can do it, it's Lou Piniella."
For the record
vs. AL West: 12-10
vs. L.A.: 2-7
vs. Oakland: 4-1
vs. Texas: 6-2
vs. AL East: 7-6
vs. AL Central: 8-7
vs. NL: 1-2
vs. LHP: 9-3
vs. RHP: 19-22
Extra innings: 0-0
Sunday's crowd: 36,886
Season total: 810,070
Biggest crowd: 46,181 (May 13)
Smallest crowd: 16,555 (May 2)
Average (27 dates): 30,003
2006 average (27 dates): 26,484
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.