PEORIA, Ariz. – It was one of those open-ended questions – What’s on your mind in this camp? – that a big-league manager either brushes off with a trite answer or uses the opportunity to explain his mission.
Prompted by a reporter Friday, Seattle Mariners manager Mike Hargrove told exactly what’s on his mind.
“Our goal is to win the American League West, and that’s foremost in my mind,” Hargrove said.
Then he expanded on what it takes to do that – talent, mind-set, toughness and patience, not necessarily in that order.
“There’s mind-set. “We want to change that mind-set, to where we come here to prepare to win. That’s a recurring theme all spring training and during the season. A guy said to me one time that if you have something you want to get across to people, you keep talking about it until you’re sick of saying it. When you reach the point that you’re sick of saying it, that’s usually when they start to get it. I haven’t reached the point where I’m sick of saying it yet.”
“There’s focus. “You play 162 games and it’s real easy to excuse away things. ‘We didn’t get the man over today twice. We left a runner on third base three times with less than two outs. We’ll do it tomorrow,’ ” Hargrove said. “When your goal is more specific and you feel like you have a chance to win, then your demands and expectations have to be more focused. That’s where it’s at in spring training.”
“There’s toughness. “If you’re hammering a young player all the time, all he can think about is, ‘Where’s the hammer?’ ” Hargrove said. “You don’t want players always wondering. You want them to develop that mental toughness and that consistency.”
“There’s patience. “If you’re baking a cake, it’s going to take the time it takes to bake. It’s going to take the time it takes to develop that attitude. Is it one year? Two years? Three years? Five years?
“I think we’ve reached a point here now that we’re close to the end of that process.”
Former Mariners great Edgar Martinez will arrive today in camp, where he will work for three days with new designated hitter Jose Vidro. … Second baseman Jose Lopez may begin taking batting practice today as he recovers from a sprained ankle. Oswaldo Navarro (sprained knee) will take batting practice Sunday. … Pitcher Sean Green, sidelined all week with a sore hamstring, threw in the bullpen.