As the media entered the Mariners clubhouse, there was Yuniesky Betancourt still boxing up his personal belongings and packing up his gear. Noticeably missing was his usual look of amusement – be it a smile or smirk.
For all of the criticism I’ve leveled at him on the field, he’s always been extremely personable to me. Even last night at the Rainiers game, he greeted me with a handshake and was friendly when talking to me.
He was also gracious enough to speak with the media with the help of Fernando Alcala. During the interview, he seemed a little sad and even got a little choked up. About the only time he smiled was when Felix Hernandez walked by and screamed “Yuuuuuunnnniii!!! I love you, I’m going to miss you. I’m going to throw you a fastball!!”
Felix did the same thing later, this time saying, “first pitch – curveball, second pitch – change-up, third pitch — nothing.
Yuni has never been the best quotes, even with an interpreter, but here’s the transcript.
Was he surprised he was traded?
Once I got taken out of the line-up yesterday, I thought something was going to happen.
Why do you think it happened?
It’s just part of the game. Trades happen. If it was going to happen then it’s suppose to happen.
On his level of disappointment?
I understand it’s part of the game. But it is sad to leave the city that he’s been in four years, my teammates, the front office executives, it is sad to leave all the people here in Seattle.
Who would he miss most?
I’m going to miss everybody, I’m going to miss Lopez, Felix, Beltre and Silva cause the guys helped a lot with the language barrier and helping become a big league player.
Is he looking it as a new start?
It’s part of life. You have ups and downs, it is a new beginning have to keep your head up high and keep working.
Did he feel like he was making progress on what Wak wanted?
I felt I made a few strides now I’m going to Kansas City and see what they expect from him and go from there.
On his schedule with the Royals
I’m going to play in AA from Sunday until Wednesday and then I’m going to be back working out with the team on Thursday.
Did he expect to be here long-term?
When I signed the deal, I did expect to be here long term. I knew trades were part of the game, but I did expect to be here.
When did he find out?
I didn’t know officially last night, but I knew something was up when I was pulled from lineup a few minutes before the game.
I want to thank the Mariners for giving me four years and letting me show my talents at the major league level.
What went wrong in his time here?
It’s something you just work hard and see if things work hard, and in this case it didn’t work out here. But you just keep working hard.
Looking back could you have improved more?
I’m just going to focus on giving a 100 percent with my team. That’s all I can do.
How close did he come to reaching his potential?
The main thing I just try to give 100 percent and keep working hard. In terms of potential, I just wanted to do the best I can.
On playing second base for the Royals?
I don’t know what’s going to happen where I’m going.
Did he even think was a possibility a week ago?
You always know it’s a possibility. But a week I ago was injured and just focused on getting healthy.