Six years ago, Harold Reynolds accused Ken Griffey Jr. of stealing the spotlight from his teammates. Today, a half-dozen Seattle Mariners are finding life without Junior means there’s no place to hide.
“When you have one man with 40 home runs and 100 RBIs in your lineup, you don’t tend to notice as much when a few other guys aren’t producing,” manager Lou Piniella said. “Without Junior, you look at that whole lineup more closely, and some guys haven’t shown they’re capable of producing.”
At the All-Star break, not quite midway through a 144-game schedule, the Mariners are 34-35 and in last place in the American League West. Since losing Griffey to a broken wrist, the Mariners are 19-23.
“We’re playing hard, playing aggressively,” Piniella said, “and you couldn’t have asked Edgar or Tino Martinez to pick their games up any more than they have. You couldn’t have asked much more of Randy Johnson than he’s given us.
“But if we’re going to even be competitive the second half, we’ve got to have more from some of our players. Mike Blowers has to hit. Chris Bosio has to be more consistent - we’d like to seem him lose a little weight, take the burden off his knees. We’ve got to get some wins from our fourth and fifth starting pitchers.”
The list of what the Mariners must do without Griffey is a long one.
“If we get to the All-Star break and Griffey is sitting on 50 RBIs, you don’t notice that Richie Amaral has eight RBIs,” Piniella said. “You don’t notice that Luis Sojo has 12, Dan Wilson 15.”“When we lost Junior, everybody had to do a little more, and some guys aren’t capable of doing more,” he said.
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