They have gotten along well all season, two veteran middle infielders who have shared second base – and the bench – for the Seattle Mariners.
Then, this afternoon, Jack Wilson put on the catching gear, got into the batting cage about 3:10 p.m. and Adam Kennedy noticed. Wilson took mock pitches and threw to second base and backup catcher Chris Gimenz.
“I was impressed, the throws were pretty good,” Gimenez said. “Maybe I should worry about my job.”
Wilson insisted it was just for fun, that he was burning off a little excess energy since he wasn’t in the starting lineup. He has caught, he said, in off-season camp games – strictly for fun. Could he catch for the Mariners in an emergency?
“They wouldn’t wanted me to,” he said. “I’d call all fastballs – straight fastballs, no movement.”
Thirty minutes later, out in the dugout, infielder, designated hitter and emergency third-string catcher Kennedy was asked about Wilson’s workout.
“That’s the thing that’s going to drive the wedge between us,” Kennedy deadpanned.
Kennedy got the title of third-string catcher – he’s never caught an inning – this spring, when manager Eric Wedge asked for a volunteer and no one responded until Kennedy raised his hand. Kennedy hasn’t had to put on the gear yet, and likely won’t ever be asked.
Still, he said, Wilson’s blatant campaign for his job created an instand feud.
“We’re done,” Kennedy said. “That was the last straw.”
Yes, he was joking. We think.