If he were a different kind of man, another player, Matt Tuiasosopo could be carrying a bit of an attitude this spring.
When manager Erik Wedge was tossing out an off-the-cuff infield depth chart, for instance, he talked about Josh Wilson, Dustin Ackley, Matt Mangini, Alex Liddi – and never did get around to having Tuiasosopo in the mix for a bench job.
That happens around camps every spring, especially with new managers and coaches a few days into workouts with the regulars. There are 63 players in camp, and if Wedge occasionally forgets to mention one it probably isn’t meaningful just yet.
Still, this is the seventh Seattle Mariners camp for Tuiasosopo, who will turn 25 in a few months. No one questions his athleticism, his work ethic. But he’s never come to camp with a job or much of a chance for one.
Part of that is he’s never had a breakout season making his way up the Seattle farm system. In 623 minor league games, Tuiasosopo has batted .270 with 53 home runs and 304 RBI. His on base percentage is .363.
In 71 big-league games, 193 at-bats, he’s hits .176. And Tuiasosopo has an option remaining, meaning he can be sent back to the minors at the end of camp.
So Tuiasosopo could be an unhappy camper this spring. He’s not. Asked if he thought of himself as a forgotten man in a room full of job candidates, Tuiasosopo answered with one word.
“No,” he said.
Was it possible, he was asked, if a new manager and staff simply didn’t know him? That drew a smile – and two words.
“They will,” Tuiasosopo said.
And that’s one of the reasons you never bet against Tuiasosopo.