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News » Seattle Mariners Notes, Quotes 2008-12-04

Seattle Mariners Notes, Quotes 2008-12-04

Seattle Mariners Notes, Quotes 2008-12-04
--INF/OF Russell Branyan agreed to a one-year, $1.4 million deal, giving the Mariners a powerful but inconsistent bat for the bench. Branyan hit 12 homers in just 132 at-bats for Milwaukee this year, but he is a .230 career hitter.

--OF Raul Ibanez was offered arbitration by the Mariners, making the team eligible for draft compensation if the free agent signs elsewhere.

--Former bullpen coach Norm Charlton said he had no hard feelings after being told by new manager Don Wakamatsu that Charlton would not be returning for 2009. "Mr. Wakamatsu told me that, in fairness to his pitching coach, he wanted to be able to bring in his own bullpen coach," Charlton said. "I understand that. That's how it works sometimes. I wouldn't be honest if I didn't tell you I'm disappointed. I felt I worked hard and did the best I could with the job."

--Manager Don Wakamatsu landed the job in part because of a strong recommendation from veteran manager Buck Showalter. "Resume-wise, I don't know what more a guy could really do as far as his background," Showalter said. "The Mariners hired a good man there, a very ethical guy who's not too stiff, has a great smile, a guy that laughs easily. And when you spend the amount of time together that he and I have, early in the morning, spring training, late at night, for eight, nine months at a time, you certainly get to see (what type of person he is). What is it they say? 'Friends are people that know all about you and still like you.'"

--Rick Adair, who serves as the Rangers' minor league pitching coordinator, is a candidate to be the bullpen coach under new manager Don Wakamatsu.

--RHP R.A. Dickey is spending part of his offseason working with a foundation he co-founded with former big-league pitcher Jonathan Johnson, Honor Thy Father Ministries. They and several other current and former big-leaguers facilitate the giving of goods that improve the lives of people in Cuba, Ecuador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

--RHP Junichi Tazawa has received an offer from the Mariners, but that doesn't mean Seattle is likely to wind up with him. Tazawa also has reportedly received an offer from the Boston Red Sox, and reports out of Japan say that he is a huge fan of Daisuke Matsuzaka, and that may swing things in favor of the Red Sox.

--RF Ichiro Suzuki had to deal with rumors that some in Japan were suggesting he manage Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic. Ultimately, Tatsunori Hara of the Yomiuri Giants got the gig as the manager, and Ichiro says he expects to play in the 16-nation tournament after having helped lead Team Japan to the title in 2006.

--LHP Eric O'Flaherty, who had a nice 2007 season with Seattle only to spend most of the 2008 season in the minor leagues, was claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves. O'Flaherty had a 20.25 ERA in seven games for Seattle in April, was demoted to Class AAA Tacoma and never came back up.

--C Jeff Clement, whose season ended early because of September knee surgery, has begun a running program and is a couple of weeks away from starting to hit off a tee. He's expected to be ready for spring training.

--RHP Brandon Morrow's offseason workouts have already started. He has begun throwing regularly at Safeco Field in preparation for his bid to join the rotation in 2009.

--RHP Stephen Kahn, RHP Gaby Hernandez, RHP Marwin Vega and OF Greg Halman have been added to the 40-man roster, while RHP Luis Munoz and RHP Tracy Thorpe cleared waivers and were outrighted to the minor leagues.

--Outgoing bench coach Lee Elia said his departure was just one of those things after new manager Don Wakamatsu told him Elia wasn't going to be coaching for the Mariners in 2009. "I congratulated Don on getting the job, because he's a hell of a guy," Elia said. "It's not really a feeling of disappointment, because I've been there myself. Everyone should have a choice of picking people they're familiar with. That's the case now. He said he would probably bring in all new faces. I understand that. He has to have loyalty and trust from his coaches, and you find that from people you've worked with."

--Former pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre won't be part of new manager Don Wakamatsu's staff. "We had a nice conversation, very cordial," Stottlemyre said. "He said he wanted to be the one to give me the news. That was first class. A lot of guys would have taken the easy way out. I've heard nothing but positive things about Don. I know there's great respect for him in the game."

BY THE NUMBERS: 0 -- Years in which the Mariners lost money since Safeco Field opened in 1999. That streak will end this year, although the final figures haven't been announced.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Our job is to give this club the tools it takes to win." -- GM Jack Zduriencik, on what's next up on his calendar.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: December 4, 2008

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