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Originally published June 10, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 19, 2007 at 9:08 PM

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Notebook | Bunting Beltre? Not if Hargrove gets his way

One thing that's apparent by now is that Adrian Beltre has trouble bunting against Trevor Hoffman. In a 2-1 Mariners loss to the San Diego...

Seattle Times staff reporter

SAN DIEGO — One thing that's apparent by now is that Adrian Beltre has trouble bunting against Trevor Hoffman.

In a 2-1 Mariners loss to the San Diego Padres at Safeco Field in May, Beltre was called upon to sacrifice off Hoffman after Seattle started the ninth inning with a pair of singles. He was unsuccessful in two attempts, then fouled out.

On Friday at Petco Park, in the ninth inning of a 5-5 tie, Beltre again was given the bunt signal against Hoffman after Kenji Johjima led off with a single. This time, he popped up his bunt foul, and it was grabbed by the catcher for the first out.

Mariners manager Mike Hargrove indicated Saturday that Beltre's bunting days are likely over, except under extraordinary circumstances.

"Will I ever ask him to bunt again? I don't know that I will," Hargrove said.

Mariners five-game planner

Today | @ San Diego, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 11 | M's RHP Felix Hernandez (3-3, 4.40) vs. RHP Chris Young (6-3, 2.19).

Monday | @ Cleveland, 4:05 p.m., FSN | M's RHP Cha Seung Baek (3-2, 4.93) vs. RHP Paul Byrd (6-2, 3.80).

Tuesday | @ Chicago Cubs, 5:05 p.m., Ch. 11 | M's LHP Jarrod Washburn (5-5, 3.94) vs. LHP Rich Hill (4-4, 2,89).

Wednesday | @ Chicago Cubs, 5:05 p.m., FSN | M's RHP Miguel Batista (6-4, 5.56) vs. LHP Sean Marshall (2-2, 2.08).

Thursday | @ Chicago Cubs, 11:20 a.m., no TV | M's Jeff Weaver (0-6, 12.46) vs. RHP Jason Marquis (5-3, 3.01).

"Obviously, it's not really his forte. But if we're in the seventh game of the World Series, it's a tie score in the ninth inning, runners on first and second, nobody out, and he's the hitter, I'll bet he tries to bunt.

"I was really on the fence last night anyway. I decided to take a shot at it. We were trying to get the winning run into scoring position. We bunted every day in spring training, and Adrian has good hand-eye coordination. He's a good hitter, a good athlete. It's just a matter of getting the ball down."

Ailing Huber on DL

Reliever Jon Huber was placed on the disabled list on Saturday to clear a roster spot for right-handed starter Jeff Weaver, who was activated from the DL to start against the Padres.

Hubert has a right forearm strain, suffered in Wednesday's game against the Orioles. The DL move is retroactive to June 7. Huber, who had a 4.00 earned-run-average in five appearances, will return to Seattle today to begin treatment.

In retrospect, Huber was glad he spoke up about his arm troubles in the Wednesday game rather than continuing to pitch.

"I shut it down before it got too severe," he said. "I did the same thing [to his elbow] in 2003 and tried to pitch through it, and hurt myself pretty bad. I missed the rest of the year. I learned from that. It's not always smart to try to pitch through something like that."

What happened?

Mariners third-base coach Carlos Garcia is still trying to figure out why he got ejected by plate umpire Alfonso Marquez in the ninth inning Friday.

Garcia acknowledged barking to Marquez in the previous inning about Marquez's call on 3-2 pitch by Miguel Batista to Jose Cruz in the seventh that was called a ball. The two-out walk paved the way for the Padres' four-run, game-tying rally.

"I didn't like the call, and I told him in the eighth inning," Garcia said. "He told me to shut up, and so that's what I did. From that point on, I didn't say anything. That's why it caught me by surprise when he kicked me out.

"I was talking to [pinch-hitter] Jose Vidro and saying, 'Hey, get a good pitch to hit,' and that was it. If he says I said something to him, he's got to be a liar. Maybe he thought I was saying something to him, but I wasn't."

With Marquez umping at third on Saturday, the two had ample opportunity to talk things over. Garcia said their Friday bantering was partly in English, partly in Spanish.

"It was a very good bilingual conversation," he said with a laugh.

The Mariners thought Batista had Cruz struck out on the previous pitch as well, also called a ball. Batista, however, had a less contentious stance on Marquez's calls.

"I thought the pitches were close, but he's closer than us," Batista said with a shrug. "He has a better view."

Batista said his biggest problem in the seventh was a hole in front of the rubber that had been dug by Padres reliever Justin Hampson.

On the road again

When the two-day amateur draft concluded on late Friday afternoon, you might have thought the Mariners' scouting staff could finally relax.

Hardly. After spending months scouring North America for talent, now it gets to start all over again. Mariners scouting director Bob Fontaine convened a meeting of his personnel shortly after the draft ended to discuss their plans to follow drafted players during the summer, and begin the process of scouting for future drafts.

"Our follow list goes into 2009, and in some cases 2010," Fontaine said. "It really never ends. We get 10 solid days off at Christmas, and that's about it."

Assessing the Mariners' draft, Fontaine said: "Obviously, we're happy. There are certain things you want to accomplish, and if you do, you're happy with that stage of it.

"People hate to hear it, but it's true: You can grade this draft in five years, just like you can grade last year's draft in four years. We feel we met some of our needs. We're happy with the kids we got. Now time will tell."

Larry Stone: 206-464-3146 or lstone@seattletimes.com

For the record

W-L PCT
32-26 .552

Streak: W2

Home: 17-13

Road: 15-13

vs. AL West: 12-10

vs. L.A.: 2-7

vs. Oakland: 4-1

vs. Texas: 6-2

vs. AL East: 9-7

vs. AL Central: 8-7

vs. NL: 3-2

vs. LHP: 12-3

vs. RHP: 20-23

Day: 9-9

Night: 23-17

One-run: 8-7

Extra innings: 1-0

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