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Olivo warmed up to pitch but he’s happy it didn’t happen
Mariners catcher Miguel Olivo admits he was relieved the world didn’t find out whether he could get major-league hitters out from the mound.
Olivo was warming up in the bullpen in the 14th inning of Friday night’s 4-3 loss for the Mariners at the behest of manager Eric Wedge, who planned to use him had the game made it to the 16th. Wedge knew Olivo had the strongest arm on the team and wanted a veteran on the mound since it wasn’t a blowout game and the situation would require some composure.
“I’m glad nobody got to see me pitch,” Olivo said before Saturday’s game.griffey shoes
Olivo used to pitch as a 15-year-old in the Dominican Republic. He said he threw five pitches in a Class A game once — though no official record of it could immediately be found in an Internet search — and also warmed up in the bullpen for the San Diego Padres in 2005 while playing against Colorado, but never got into the game.
“Just a fastball, that’s it,” he said. “I just try to throw strikes with a fastball.”ken griffey shoes
Wedge said a multitude of players came to him with suggestions about who should pitch. Casper Wells was recruited by Towson University as a pitcher before getting bored and switching to the outfield.
But Wedge said Wells wasn’t considered because of his non-veteran status. It has long been mentioned that Ichiro would like to one day take a shot at pitching in the major leagues.ken griffey jr shoes
Said Wedge: “Yeah, that would go over real good if I did that. I mean, put my neck in the guillotine right now. I can’t fix it (the team) if I’m not here, you know what I mean?”
Notesnike air griffey max 2
? Franklin Gutierrez has been shut down for the remainder of the weekend after continuing to experience headaches after a workout Saturday.
“It’s unfortunate, but we were told that there could be some back and forth with this. It’s just that type of injury and that’s what we’re seeing, so some days are better than others,” Wedge said.king griffey shoes
? Erasmo Ramirez threw a simulated game for the Mariners without incident Saturday. Ramirez is to throw a bullpen session Monday and then will begin a rehabilitation assignment for Class AAA Tacoma on Wednesday if all goes well.
? Ken Griffey Jr. paid a brief visit to his former Mariners team at Tropicana Field before the game. Griffey lives in Orlando and flew to St. Petersburg in his small plane.griffeys sneakers
? Mariners relief pitcher Stephen Pryor was activated off the 15-day disabled list and optioned to Class AAA.
Ichiro’s legacy muddies what should be a clear-cut contract decision
It would seem to any reasonable outside observer that the Mariners have a gift heading their way. An $18 million gift.
At the end of the season, a player with undeniably declining skills, taking up a disproportionate amount of the payroll and blocking a position that best fits one of their rising young players, reaches the end of his contract.
The solution seems simple: The Mariners honor Ichiro for his tremendous legacy, but make the prudent decision that the time has come to move on without him. They plug Casper Wells into right field, use the $18 million in salary relief to plug several other holes, and live happily ever after.griffeys 2012
But since the player in question is Ichiro, the answer, of course, is not so simple. There are increasing rumblings that the Mariners intend to bring back Ichiro in 2013 for his 13th season with the ballclub, perhaps even on a multi-year deal. According to Fox Sports, Jack Zduriencik said last week that he expected Ichiro to return next year, though when I contacted him he backed off and said it’s not something he would ever discuss publicly.
Then Jay Buhner, in characteristically colorful language, intensified the debate by telling Brock and Salk on 710 ESPN that he would “vomit” if Ichiro were given a three-year extension for between $35 and $40 million.cheap griffey shoes
“I mean, really, no offense,” Buhner continued. “No offense, we’ve got to get this organization turned around. You can’t be spending all the money on one guy.”
I wouldn’t put it in quite those terms, but Buhner is right: If the Mariners want to progress in their rebuilding plan, they need to do it without a 38-year-old right-fielder (he turns 39 in October) who is a shadow of the player that entranced us for a decade. And certainly not at a substantial salary.nike air griffey max 1
I wrote at the outset of the season that I expected a strong bounce-back year from Ichiro, which might have changed this debate. I was wrong, at least so far. Moving to third in the order was not the answer, nor was moving back to leadoff. So far, with a .290 on-base percentage that’s trending in the wrong direction (.236 in July), he has been a detriment in a lineup that has too many of those.
But at least the struggling youngsters provide hope of a brighter future once they adjust to the major leagues. It’s hard to see Ichiro making dynamic gains as he creeps toward 40; the speed aspect of his game, so essential to making Ichiro the player he was, is no longer a weapon, and he simply doesn’t drive the ball hard enough, or often enough, to compensate.
Taking this stance does not constitute Ichiro-bashing, though there is plenty of that going on — more every day, unfortunately. This is not about him being a selfish player, or any of the other misconceptions that abound regarding Ichiro.griffeys
It is, indeed, possible to respect his contributions and still come to the conclusion that it is time to cut ties and move on.
Few situations in sports are messier and more fraught with angst than a superstar in decline. Trying to navigate the fine line between wanting to honor his legacy, and still do what’s best for the organization, can be harrowing.
We saw that first-hand with Ken Griffey Jr., who could have made it work had he walked away after the 2009 season, when teammates carried him and Ichiro triumphantly off the field after the last game. But Griffey came back for one more year, and to say it got ugly is an understatement.cheap griffeys
Throw in all the special circumstances that surround Ichiro, and you have a real dilemma on the Mariners’ hands. I can see them wanting Ichiro to get 3,000 hits in a Seattle uniform, but at his current rate he will finish the season with 2,605 — 395 shy of the magic number.
When he was rolling out 200-hit seasons like clockwork, Ichiro could have gotten that done in less than two seasons, no problem; but unless there’s a resurgence of his skills, it would take him into the 2015 season — when he would be 41 — to reach 3,000. No milestone is worth that kind of commitment.griffeys shoes
Of course, there’s also the element of Hiroshi Yamauchi, the retired Nintendo chairman in Japan, who many believe may ultimately dictate Ichiro’s return. That’s his right, of course, as the de facto owner of the Mariners (Yamauchi sold his shares to Nintendo of America in 2004 as part of some estate-planning, but still acts in the role of principal owner). But it’s also the right of the Mariners’ fans to not be happy about it.
Because if it’s strictly a baseball decision, the answer is clear-cut.
Ichiro’s exit saves Mariners pain, disappointment
For once, Ichiro was a creature out of habit. The emotionless icon, a star built on routine and repetition, had finally encountered a pregame situation he couldn’t control. Suddenly an ex-Mariner, he had to say goodbye to the only major-league team he has known.griffeys for women
Ichiro tried hard not to weep, and his red-rimmed eyes showed how challenging this would be. After 11 ? seasons, 10 All-Star Game appearances, 10 Gold Gloves and 2,533 hits, his Mariners career was over, just like that. A trade he had privately requested in recent weeks materialized. But during the announcement, “Get me out of here!” felt more like “Is it really time to go?”
“When I imagined taking off a Mariner uniform, I was overcome with sadness,” Ichiro said through a translator. “It has made this a very difficult decision to make.”griffeys for kids
It was difficult, even teary, but it was the right decision. And it was a merciful one. Ichiro’s quiet trade demand rescued the Mariners from an ugly ending to his sterling career in Seattle. He avoided, frankly, the Griffey ending. No team clings to nostalgia quite like the Mariners, and the franchise’s inability to move on in a prompt manner has left it hamstrung many times. With Ichiro, the Mariners were determined to repeat history again. But Ichiro, who craves familiarity, said something many never thought he would to the Mariners.
Enough.king griffeys 2012
He left before the Mariners could extend his expiring contract and commit more millions to a 38-year-old who doesn’t fit on a team of yuppies. He left before his skills had deteriorated to the painful level of Ken Griffey Jr. at age 40. He left before more fans, who want the Mariners to build a winner and not a museum, turned against him.
The fact that the New York Yankees, who have won with many ex-Mariners, acquired him isn’t as important as the realization that this ending allows for a graceful exit. It wasn’t perfect timing — a trade in 2010, just before Ichiro’s dramatic decline would have made better baseball sense — but this saves everyone a lot of pain and disappointment.
“I think now is the right time, and I think Ichiro is leaving the Mariners on a positive note,” Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln said. “I’m aware that he was getting heat from the media and others. This decision was best for him and best for the Mariners.”griffey shoes
That’s quite an admission from Lincoln, one of the greatest Ichiro believers on this planet. He’s an extension of Japanese majority owner Hiroshi Yamauchi, and the thought has always been that Ichiro would be welcome on the roster for as long as Yamauchi owned the team.
Ichiro’s future with the Mariners had become a polarizing topic at best and, at worst, a ding against the franchise’s commitment to winning. The situation was only going to get nastier as Ichiro’s skills continued to erode and the Mariners continued to struggle. It’s an unfair notion, but even during some of Ichiro’s best years, he was beginning to bear the burden of a franchise amid an 11-year playoff drought.
As the star of a bad team, it was becoming Ichiro’s fault. His singular focus on preparation was being labeled as selfishness. His lack of leadership was now a bigger story than his professionalism.ken griffey shoes
The criticism was only going to get worse, especially since Ichiro, a .322 career hitter, is now a .260 hitter. So trading Ichiro to the Yankees for two warm bodies (D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar) who can pitch was a fair deal for a 38-year-old with a .288 on-base percentage. Maybe the Yankees could’ve thrown in a bag of potato chips, but it would be hard to ask for much more. The Mariners will have to pay $4.75 million of $7 million remaining on Ichiro’s contract this season, but moving on and helping Ichiro play for a contender is worth it.
“We just had to do the right thing,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said.ken griffey jr shoes
Perhaps the opportunity to win a championship will rejuvenate Ichiro. Even if he only can rise to last year’s numbers (.272 average, .310 on-base percentage), that would suffice as a bottom-of-the-order role player on a Yankees team that needs his speed.
“I’m going from having the most losses to a team having the most wins,” said Ichiro, who faced the odd predicament of playing his first game as a Yankee in Safeco Field. “So it’s been hard to contain my excitement in that regard.”
Five minutes later, he was near tears again, struggling with a question about his favorite memories.griffeys 2012
His longtime admirers can answer that for him. Ichiro leaves a legacy of consistency, machine-like performance in Seattle. From his record-breaking 262-hit season to his rocket arm and stellar outfield defense, he left his mark and redefined the expectations for Japanese-born position players in Major League Baseball. As a rookie, he was the league MVP on the Mariners’ record-tying 116-win team. And while the franchise had only five winning seasons during his time, he often stood as an unflappable source of virtue, a reason to come to Safeco Field expecting to see greatness.
“There will never be another one like him,” Mariners president Chuck Armstrong said. “There has never been one before him.”griffeys
And now, Ichiro, the fading star, exits to applause and fond memories. He’s not polarizing anymore. Legends only garner respect.http://www.griffeyshoesone.com
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