Pretty big news day today!
As some had speculated...
Jeff Clement was sent down to minor leagues. He's just not ready for prime time behind the dish (even his hitting hasn't be any great shakes this spring) and with the new emphasis on defense, he didn't really have a chance.
I've always had special respect for those who don the tools of ignorance and are able to do them justice. I guess that's because catching is, by far, the most physically demanding and mentally challenging position on the field. In other words, it ain't easy.
Best of luck figuring it all out, Jeff.
Then there was the rather unexpected news...
Brandon Morrow will not only start the season in the pen, it will be his permanent home. Apparently, after much soul-searching, research and basically gauging what his own body could handle (he is diabetic) he went to the M's to let them know that he feels he is much better suited to the bullpen. Brandon says it is much easier to regulate his blood sugar on a daily basis, for short stints than to try to get it just right every five days and sustain it for 100+ pitches.
While it is a big disappointment for most (who were looking forward to Brandon in the starting rotation) the logic of the decision can hardly be argued with. He knows his body better than anyone and the organization has his health and his ability to contribute his best effort to the team as top priorities. So, we go with it.
I, for one, thought it was pretty darned exciting last season when Brandon came out of the pen in the 8th or 9th inning and blew batters away. And, with a solid, designated role, who's to say that he won't get even better this season? There seems to be something about those bullpen guys, they just seem to perform better when the roles are set. I seem to remember that JJ only started to excel once he was actually named the replacement to Eddie (as opposed to just the 'fill-in closer').
Good on ya, Brandon ~ for being honest with yourself and the team as to your capabilities.
Here's some rather lively discussion on the topic over at Mariner Central (my favorite hangout :-)
Apparently, Brandon isn't the only diabetic in the pen..
Mark Lowe was diagnosed last season with type-2 diabetes and his "co-worker" was an invaluable resource and support for him.
"It was not fun knowing it's something you'll have to do the rest of your life, poking yourself with a needle forever," he said. "But you get over it and know it could be way, way worse. In the longrun, it's something that will help you -- staying in shape, eating right. You have to look at it in the big picture, and I think it's going to be a very positive thing."
That's the mindset both Lowe and Morrow hope all diabetics take in treating their conditions.
"Take it serious. It's a big deal and it's your livelihood," Lowe said. "As you get older, a lot of things can change and you've got to take care of it for the longrun."
"But," added Morrow. "Don' t let it hold you back. It's a serious condition but if you take care of yourself and monitor it, you can be as healthy as anybody else."
New Skipper asserting his power...
Some new rules in town ~ you will wear ties on the plane.
“The big issue in camp the last few days has been ties,” Wakamatsu said. “We’re going to wear them on team flights. Some guys have never worn them before, and they’re not happy. I’m not trying to be a hard-ass – I’d rather wear a sweat suit when we fly.I think I like it.
“Players used to have to wear suits. I’m just going with ties, and I’ve told the guys who’ve asked about it, ‘I’ll have a few extra ties on the plane in case you forget yours.’ ”
“It’s discipline. We’re trying to establish something here. In some organizations, like the Yankees, there’s no facial hair allowed. When I was a player in the Reds organization, everyone had to wear their uniform a certain way. Those teams establish something throughout their system.
“In our clubhouse, there aren’t many players who have come up through the Seattle system. We’re starting something this spring, from how we play the game to how we represent the team.”