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A GRIP ON SPORTS

There are certain jobs that don't seem too safe right now. Drummer for Spinal Tap. Justin Bieber security guard at a Heat game. Catcher for the Seattle Mariners. Read on.


••••••••••

• You want a job with long-term security? You don't want to be the M's catcher then. Not since Dan Wilson held down the position for years and years has anyone really been the M's franchise backstop. Even Kenji Johjima, who held the job for the better part of four years during the last decade, seemed to be something of a placeholder. And recently, the position has been almost jinxed. Remember Rob Johnson – for anything else than chasing a Felix Hernandez curve ball to the backstop? Remember Miguel Olivio, who had a couple of stints? Remember Jesus Montero? OK, the last guy I'm sure you remember. And he's in the news today – though it's not a good thing (see below). When Montero couldn't hit (and couldn't catch) earlier this season, the M's sent him to Triple-A, where he promptly got hurt. He'll have knee surgery today. To replace him, the Mariners turned to another Jesus, Sucre, and he seemed to be the defensive-oriented catcher they needed. Except he was whacked with a bat last night on his left hand and may just be out a while. If so, the M's will have to figure out who bring up to join Kelly Shoppach on the major league roster. Every catcher in their minor league system has questions, from Brandon Bantz, called up to Tacoma from Jackson when Montero was hurt, to Mike Zunino (pictured), the next “great prospect” in the M's organization, to John Hicks, a solid defensive catcher who has made a steady rise in the organization. But Hicks just came off the disabled list in Double A. And Bantz doesn't have a lot of experience. Neither does Zunino, but, if he is the catcher of the future, as the M's organization seems to think, bringing him up now will start his service-time clock and make him arbitration and free-agent eligible a year earlier than waiting until the end of the month. No one in the M's front office wants that. So if Sucre's hand is really broken, then the Mariners have to make a tough choice. Which means you can add another job to the ones that don't seem safe right now: M's general manager.

•••

• WSU: The Cougars are stocking up the 2014 class as Christian Caple reports in this blog post about their sixth commitment. … An incoming Cougar for this fall, Isaac Dotson, was just named the Seattle Times male high school athlete of the year. … Utah's first two years in the Pac-12 haven't been as successful as hoped. … Oregon may be losing some basketball players. … We wrote about Gordon Gee's faux pas the other day so we thought we better pass along his plan to “retire.”

• Gonzaga: BYU believes its point guards are going to be something special next year.

• Shock: As the long indoor season wears on, the Shock's practice plan changes a bit. Jim Meehan has more in his weekly notebook.

• Mariners: Before we get into Tuesday's win, let's pass along the Montero news. It seems that major league baseball is moving forward with the Biogenesis investigation, according to ESPN's Outside the Lines. And there is a chance folks associated with the place, including Montero, could be in for a long suspension. … As for the 7-4 win, Felix Hernandez didn't pitch like an ace early and late but in-between? Boy was he good. It didn't matter all that much, though, as Raul Ibanez (who serves as the Mariners' emergency catcher) and the M's offense was explosive against Chicago's Jake Peavy, who left with an injury. … The all-important draft is coming up. It starts Thursday. … Former Mariner Casper Wells sits and watches as the Sox lose game after game.

• Seahawks: Will the problems with PEDs derail the Hawks' march to the Super Bowl? … Switching sides of the ball isn't an easy thing to do, though a couple of Hawks have made it seem that way.

• Sounders: Brad Evans spent some time with the national team and he talked about it. … One man's MLS power rankings.

• Sonics: Folks in King County don't seem too upset the Kings aren't coming.

•••

• Another beautiful day, another day I won't get to enjoy it to the fullest. Back on the radio again, this time after the Mariners' game ends. You can listen here. Until then …


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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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