When Don Wakamatsu opened spring training with the stated purpose of helping every play in camp improve his game, it was a lovely philosophy.
Did it happen?
Probably not – but not for lack of effort with the Seattle coaching staff. They worked one-on-one with each of he 60-plus players who came to camp, a remarkable effort.
Some players didn’t improve. They may never improve. Sadly, that’s part of baseball, too.
Now that the season has started, that coaching effort hasn’t ended.
Matt Tuiasosopo, for instance, is with the team until Ichiro Suzuki returns. A third baseman, he has worked out with coaches the past few days at first, second and third base.
Today, after early batting practice, Tuiasosopo trotted out to left field, and coach Lee Tinsley hit him fly balls – and talked to him about his actions – for about 15 minutes.
Tuiasosopo may not start a game while he’s here, and may be limited to pinch-running or playing in a blowout.
Still, this coaching staff is working with him with an eye toward the future. If Tuiasosopo can play three or four positions, his route to the majors might become shorter, and his value to the Marines would increase.
Wakamatsu’s edict – to help every player reach their potential – didn’t end with spring training.
This staff is still working, often one-on-one, with the players on the roster. It’s fascinating to watch. And down the line, it might make this a better franchise.