Talks between the Seattle Mariners and Ken Griffey Jr. on a contract for the 2010 season are continuing amid indications that he will return to the team.
The Mariners don’t discuss negotiations, although general manager Jack Zduriencik confirmed late last month that meetings between team executives, Griffey and his agent, Brian Goldberg, were held during the final weekend of the season in Seattle.
Contacted Thursday, Goldberg would not talk specifically about his discussions with the Mariners. He acknowledged that he and the team expect to talk in the next few days “to see where everyone stands and what everyone wants.”
Griffey played 117 games this year and batted .214 with 19 home runs, 57 runs batted in and a team-leading 63 walks. He and Mike Sweeney, who got 242 at-bats primarily in a right-handed DH role, combined for a .240 average with 27 home runs and 91 RBIs.
DH production is one of several areas the Mariners hope to improve, particularly in an offense that finished last in the American League in runs scored. Because of that, the Mariners aren’t in a position this early in the offseason to guarantee Griffey anything in terms of his role or number of at-bats.
However, those familiar with the talks between the team and Griffey say he is not making an issue of role or salary. This year, he made $3.5 million from the Mariners.
Griffey wouldn’t talk about his future until after the Mariners’ final game on Oct. 4, when he told reporters that he hoped to return in 2010.
Goldberg said Griffey was recovering well after surgery Oct. 26 to remove a bone spur from his left knee. Griffey suffered occasions of pain and fluid buildup in the knee during the season, causing him to miss stretches of games.
Griffey is among eight Mariners eligible for free agency this offseason. Only Sweeney and third baseman Adrian Beltre had filed as of Thursday, the first of a 15-day period for eligible players to become free agents. The other eligible Mariners are pitchers Miguel Batista and Erik Bedard, first baseman Russell Branyan, outfielder Endy Chavez and shortstop Jack Wilson.
M’s sign D-backs pitcher
In a move that falls under the stockpiling-of-arms category, the Mariners announced they claimed right-handed pitcher Yusmeiro Petit off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Petit, who’ll turn 25 on Nov. 22, has pitched 2291/3 innings in the major leagues with the Florida Marlins and the Diamondbacks.
Johnson has second surgery
Rob Johnson was recovering in Vail, Colo., after undergoing his second hip operation on Tuesday. Johnson, who got most of the playing time at catcher late this season, had the labrum in his left hip repaired 18 days after undergoing a similar surgery on his right hip. Dr. Marc Phillippon performed the surgery in Vail.