Mariners manager Eric Wedge talked about the line-up the decision to play Raul Ibanez and resting Franklin Gutierrez in the video above.
Wedge talked about wanting to play several people to keep them in rhythm after coming out of spring training.
Something that wasn’t on the video, Wedge did say that Jesus Montero was watching the ball a little off the bat and thought it was going to get through the infield for a hit. So while Montero is still slow, he’s not quite as slow as we thought on that play.
As for the line-up, with Saunders at the lead-off there may be more opportunities for him to steal bases. Saunders stole 20 bags last season. He has the green light to go when he wants.
“Situation dictate it,” Wedge said. “I always have the ability to shut him down. If they are off and running, it’s because we sent them or because they are on their own. Most of which you trust their feel and identifying the situation.”
Wedge trusts Saunders judgment because Saunders puts in a lot of preparation for it.
“He works hard at,” Wedge said. “If you are going to be a base steal, you have to be working. You have to be working every pitch and he does that.”
Over in the A’s clubhouse, John Jaso was quite pleased with his new watch from Felix Hernandez.
“He came through big time. It was definitely not expected,” Jaso said. “It was big time appreciated. Nothing will top the actual experience of being back there catching him in that game though.”
Jaso thanked Felix by breaking up his perfect game in the fourth inning of last night’s game with a double.
“I was going to tell him he’s not getting another perfect game on my watch,” Jaso joked.
So would he rather have the Rolex or the double?
“I’d go with the Rolex,” Jaso said. “I could get a double another day. A Rolex doesn’t come around to often.”
Jaso downplayed any advantage he might have from catching Hernandez.
“Not really,” he said. “Our hitting coach was trying to get information out of me – like what to expect. I told him, ‘Listen, if I tell you anything, it’s just going to hurt people more because he can throw anything at any time.'”
Jaso saw it first-hand in the sixth inning.
“That at-bat, he was throwing everything at me,” he said. “He was trying to strike me out with everything he had. So as soon as I say, ‘hey, watch out for a change-up,’ then here comes a curve ball instead. You know what I mean? They are all plus pitches. I’d say to really hit off him is don’t miss that one pitch. Everybody is human, and he’s going to make a mistake somewhere. Your focus just has to be heightened so much – you can’t miss that pitch.”
And Hernandez’s nasty change-up?
“It seems like the harder he throws it, the better it is,” Jaso said. “If his change-up starts falling down to the 86 mph mile range, he seems to leave it up more. When he throws it hard, he throws it down and that’s more in the 88-89 range. He threw one to me in that bat where I struck out and I think it was right at me knees and I thought it maybe was a ball and the umpire called it strike. It just messed with my head. Every time he threw a change-up down there, I was hacking at it.”