A buzz in the air

The chatter inside the Mariners clubhouse at 7:30 this morning was all about Junior.

Players sat in front of their respective lockers, talking about the bombshell news that Ken Griffey Jr. was coming back to Seattle.

“I don’t know him, but I’m looking forward to getting to know him,” pitcher Jarrod Washburn said. I think he can bring some leadership for the younger guys. He obviously brings a presence to the lineup, but maybe the biggest thing he can bring is some excitement to the ballpark. I don’t think any of us are naÔve enough to think we are going to be packing the stands early on, but he will help bring people to the ballpark and help create an atmosphere that is more conducive to winning. And it will more fun.”

Right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow said it was “awesome” and can’t wait for the future Hall of Famer to walk into the clubhouse and become a teammate.

“It wasn’t a huge shock, because there has been talk aboiut it for awhile,” he said. “Awesome. I mean, his presence for sure is big. We don’t have anybody like that right now.”

Mariners head athletic trainer Rick Griffin, who probably knows Griffey better than anyone in the clubhouse, said he received a phone call from his daughter, Nicole, who was at a sports bar in Bali watching ESPN when the ticker at the bottom of the screen scrolled across with the big news.

“She started jumping up and down, screaming, and people thought she was crazy,” Griffin said. “They didn’t know what was going on.”

There is a whole lot of celebration going around right now.

— Jim Street

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