The latest on Junior

I just talked to Ken Griffey Jr.’s agent Brian Goldberg via the telly and although he wouldn’t get into specifics, he said he expected to talk to Mariners officials in the next few days to discuss the possibility of Junior returning next season.

The last time the two sides talked was during the final weekend of the regular season in Seattle. Griffey has had a bone spur removed from his left knee.

General manager Jack Zduriencik has refused to discuss any ongoing — or otherwise — contract talks, but mentioned during his end-of-the-season session with reporters that Griffey’s contributions to the 85-win season were more than just the numbers — a .214 batting average, 19 home runs and 57 RBIs.

“We thought he would be a somewhat of an offensive producer for us,” Z-man said. “We needed a left-handed bat, but what he did in that clubhouse, and what he did with his presence, I think goes beyond what any of us expected.”

As someone who has known Junior since he signed with the Mariners in 1987 and covered him through the 1998 season, the Griffey in 2009 was nothing like the Junior in those days. He could be moody at any given time on any given day, but he was an absolute joy to be around the entire ’09 season and it rubbed off on everyone.

That reason alone seems to make it worthwhile bringing him back for at least one more season.

— Jim Street

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