Hitting the note trail:
*Ichiro has donated one of the bats he used during the early rounds of the World Baseball Classic to the Hall of Fame. My guess is that it was one that did not produce the way most of his bats do. He went 7-for-33 during the first two rounds of the Classic before a more Ichiro-like 5-for-11 in the semifinals and finals.
I asked him this morning if he was going to represent Japan in the next Classic, which will be played in 2013. “I’m not even sure I’ll be alive then,” he said.
That’s a maybe, I guess.
His current five-year contract with Seattle expires after the 2012 season.
*The Mariners have drawn more than 100,000 fans again this spring, the 11th time in the past 12 springs they have reached that mark. The Mariners are fourth in Cactus League average attendance this spring, behind the Cubs (naturally), Dodgers (of course) and Giants (still popular without Bonds).
*The three first basemen fighting for probably two roster spots are having quite the battle. Russell Branyan is batting .321 (18-for-56) with five home runs and 14 RBIs; Chris Shelton is sailing along with a .488 (21-for-43) mark with three home runs and nine RBIs; and Mike Sweeney is batting .344 (11-for-32) with one home run and six RBIs.
Add ’em up and you get this for the Seattle first sacker: .382, 9, 29. Eat your heart out, Richie.
*Second baseman Jose Lopez was in the original starting lineup today, but was scratched. According to a club official (the always-reliable Tim Hevly) there apparently is nothing wrong with Lopez that caused the switch to Ronny Cedeno.
*The heavy winds that closed Sky Harbor Airport to shut down for an hour last night, and were still brisk this morning, finally subsided around noon and it’s another beautiful day in the desert.
* Shelton just singled to right field. The guy seems determined to break the club record for highest Cactus League batting average. And to find out what that record is, check out the story on Mike Morse at your favorite web site.
That would be mariners.com.
*Manager Don Wakamatsu said he might play catcher Kenji Johjima later in games next week.
“Catching everybody is the challenge,” Wak said. “We talked about bringing him in later to catch the relievers in some of the games so we’re not killing him by catching him nine the whole times.”
— Jim Street