I just got off the phone with Mike Sweeney and was correct in assuming that by filing for free agency on Thursday, he definitely intends to play baseball in 2010.
“My body feels great and I have the blessing of my wife to continue playing,” Sweeney said, adding that he would like to return to the Mariners. “Last year was the most fun I’ve ever had and it would be great to come back.
“But if they decide to go in another direction, I could understand it.”
Sweeney batted .281, hit eight home runs and drove in 34 runs while splitting the designated hitter duties with Ken Griffey Jr., whom Sweeney calls “June-bug” — don’t ask me why.
“If Oct. 4 was my last game in a Mariners uniform, it will be an unforgettable day,” he said. “To watch Felix win his 19th game, (David) Aardsma get his 35th save and Junior to get a hit in his last at-bat, and to be a part of the celebration on the field after the game was special.”
Sweeney might be the classiest guy in the Major Leagues and, along with Junior, turned a divided clubhouse the previous season into a virtual romper room, where players of all nationalities developed a strong chemistry.
While the 36-year-old Sweeney proved late last season that he still has game left, batting .354 with three home runs in September.
The fact Sweeney hasn’t heard from the Mariners suggests that he doesn’t fit into their 2010 plans, but he said the team still has two weeks for exclusive negotiating rights and he still might get a call.
If not, he’s prepared to move on — but never forget the ’09 season.
— Jim Street