UPDATE: I went on the Mitch and the Morning show with Steve Sandmeyer this morning to discuss last night and the Mariners in general, you can listen to it here. My apologies to my boy Ian Furness, whose show I normally frequent on Fridays. I will never cheat on you again, especially since you play the my favorite song as entrance music.
A quick piece of advice before we discuss Yuniesky Betancourt yet again: Never eat Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno potato chips after 2 a.m. There is nothing good that can come from it. No matter how delicious they taste.
Ok let’s get to talking about Yuni.
Yesterday was definitely interesting for me and I’m sure for Yuniesky Betancourt. I outlined some of it in my Rainiers story for today’s paper.
Here’s a rundown of the events …
* Yuni showed up early in Tacoma did some individual work and took part in Rainiers infield, team fundamentals and batting practice — all with no problems.
* During his pregame meeting with the media, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said Yuni was to start at shortstop and play seven innings.
* 35-40 minutes before the 7 p.m. game Rainiers manager Daren Brown received a phone call from the Mariners higher-ups, saying to pull Betancourt, which leads to several questions that can’t be answered. So I was at Cheney trying to figure out why he was pulled and what was going on. From my sources, we were able to find out it didn’t hamstring related.
* So then I had Larry, who was up at Safeco, ask Jack Z and the Mariners for a comment on the situation. From Jack Z, we got “no comment” and officially “an organizational decision.”
* Basically I’m stuck dugout watching and any time that Yuni retreated to the clubhouse, I would go down and wait at the clubhouse door to see if he was leaving (I really felt like a paparazzi or one of those creepy autograph dealers). On Wednesday, he played five innings and left after the sixth inning. Yuni never left early and I went back and forth from the press box to the clubhouse door about five times.
* After the game, Daren Brown confirmed that Yuni wasn’t hurt and he was told by the organization to pull him from the line-up.
* Yuni, despite my constant criticisms, is pretty friendly, immediately shook my hand when I saw him and said hi.
So I talked with him — without an interpreter — which can be tough.
And he genuinely did not know why he wasn’t playing and didn’t seem to understand the possible insinuations that stem from that. When I asked his if he had talked to his agent about a possible move, he seemed genuinely surprised.
Here’s what we know …
* Betancourt is healthy. He told me so. And I actually wonder if playing Yuni at second base isn’t just for the Mariners, but as a possible showcase for other teams.
At one point this season, the unhappiness and frustration with Betancourt and his play from the coaching staff was higher than was let on publicly. They may not want to get rid of him immediately, but they have shown they can move on without him.
* Jack Zduriencik’s refusal to say anything other than “No comment” may say more than not saying anything at all.
Because the Pirates are in town, does it mean that Betancourt is going to be traded for Freddy Sanchez or Jack Wilson? Not particularly. There are parts that seem like a match, but I don’t think it would be a one for one swap. The Pirates may want Greg Halman, they may want a young reliever like Mark Lowe. Remember the possibility of a multi-team deal is real. Jack Z’s first trade as a GM was a three-teamer which may be a reason for the delay in anything happening.
Plenty of teams want Sanchez and plenty of teams have contacted the M’s about possible deals. One thing I found with Jack Z is that he’s honest about what happens but he plays his cards close to the vest. Remember with JJ Putz most of the rumored deals were with the Cardinals and Tigers and then Jack pulled the three-teamer with the Mets and Indians.
* According to Larry, Wakamatsu was genuinely surprised and unaware that Yuni had been scratched from the line-up.
* I will be back at Cheney Stadium again tonight on Yuni-watch again.