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Ex-Mariner Shuns Talk Of Mvp Season

Gary Brooks Tacoma News Tribune

The New York Yankees did the Mariners a great service earlier this week, taking four games from the Anaheim Angels, but now that they are in Seattle, they aren’t looking to continue offering favors.

“Hopefully, we can help the Anaheim Angels out this time,” said Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez.

New York is in a race of its own trying to catch the Baltimore Orioles in the A.L. East. Although there is no great worry in New York considering the Yankees have a sizable lead in the wild-card race.

The primary reason New York looks like a contender to defend its World Series title has been the play of Martinez, who was traded from Seattle to New York after the 1995 season.

Martinez’s career-best power season has been the heart of New York’s offense and has created Most Valuable Player talk, but he isn’t interested.

“That’s not in my focus or thought process right now at all,” Martinez said about the postseason awards. “My focus is on trying to get back in the playoffs. Winning the World Series last year, you want to get back to the playoffs. That’s all I think about. They don’t remember what everybody did, who played part-time or whatever. They just remember who won the World Series.”

But if Martinez can get to 50 home runs, which is not a stretch at all, he no doubt will be remembered for what he did to get the Yankees to the playoffs.

He would join immortal company in Yankees lore with 50 homers. Only Roger Maris, Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle have done it. Lou Gehrig topped out at 49, twice.

And what was it the Mariners got for Martinez, who they couldn’t afford? Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock, who became Scott Sanders, who turned into Omar Olivares and Felipe Lira.

Anderson update

The Mariners’ No. 1 draft pick, left-handed high school pitcher Ryan Anderson, is the lowest member of the first round not to have signed. He was taken 19th overall but is holding out in contention that he deserves the same signing bonus as the top three picks because he was originally projected to be among them.

None of the first three have signed.

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