Junior not tipping his hand regarding 2010

There are less than two weeks remaining in what has been a fun-filled season for the Mariners in general and Ken Griffey Jr. in particular.

Junior will be 40 years old on Nov. 21. That much we know. What we don’t know is whether Mariners’ uniform No. 24 will be worn again next season.

Griffey played coy on Sunday afternoon following his most productive game of the season — a run-scoring double in the first inning and three-run home run in the second inning, against the Yankees.

It was a turn-back-the-clock moment for “The (former) Kid.”

After the 7-1 victory, he was asked just about every which way whether this would be his final season.

He answered in just about every which way that he has not made that decision — and will not rush into making it.

“At the end of the year, we ‘ll decide,” he said. “There’ s still more ballgames to play. “

The Mariners have 12 games remaining, starting with Tuesday night’s game in St. Petersburg against the Rays. After two games there and four in Toronto, the team returns for a three-game home series against the Athletics and another three-game series against the Rangers.

My gut feeling is two-fold: If the Mariners want him to come back for one more season, and his Orlando-based family wants him to come back for one more season, Junior will return next season.

He has enjoyed this season perhaps more than any of the previous 19, and except for his batting average, has contributed as much as could be expected from a 39-year-old with a bum knee that limited him primarily to DH duties.

It would surprise me if Junior’s status is determined by the end of this season. General manager Jack Zduriencik has a lot of work to do during the offseason to get this team good enough to challenge for a playoff spot and filling the DH role is not at the top of the list.

But regardless what happens, one of the best things that happened this season to the team, the organization and the fans, was bringing Griffey back.

— Jim Street


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