February 21, 1997 in Sports

Piniella Is Butt Of Jokes On First Day Back

Larry Larue Tacoma News Tribune

Manager Lou Piniella, finally in camp after recuperating from minor surgery, gave his opening address to the full squad and immediately afterward was shown his new camp furniture - a patio chair with an immense inner tube for a cushion.

Piniella sat in it - briefly - and took the humor gracefully.

If Piniella has been ordered to take it easy, his team hasn’t. Fifty-eight Mariners were in camp Thursday - rookie infielder Giomar Guevera was unaccounted for and pitcher Dennis Martinez will work out for the first time today.

Medical update

Randy Johnson was a little stiff after pitching Wednesday, but went through his rigorous off-the-field workout Thursday. Bob Wolcott was sent home with the flu and will be evaluated day-to-day.

Camp notes

On the possibility that his younger brother Craig might retire from baseball at the end of spring training, Ken Griffey Jr. had a terse “no comment” Thursday. “That’s a family matter,” he said… . For those wondering how left-hander Greg McCarthy lost a little more than 4 percent of his body fat this fall - and still gained weight - here’s the answer: By running at least 20 minutes every day and cutting the fat in his diet, McCarthy gained muscle and lost fat… . Veteran Jeff Fassero carries two baseballs in his left hand between drills, constantly squeezing them. When younger pitchers ask why, he shows them an exercise that strengthens the fingers of his pitching hand. At least four young pitchers now are squeezing. … After other pitchers were through for the day, veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer asked one of the coaches to hit him hard ground balls back at the mound - this after more than 3 hours of drills. Why? “You work on fielding when you’re tired because late in a game you may be tired,” Moyer said. “Any little edge you have helps.”

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