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Saturday, May 30, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

There’s Nothing Routine About First-Base Shuffle

By Larry Larue Tacoma News Tribune

The Seattle Mariners will put a new twist on the “Who’s on first” routine today - who’s on first and who’s coaching first.

Against New York left-hander Andy Pettitte, right-handed hitting Mike Blowers would usually start the game at first, but the “Tacoma Kid” has a slight sprain of the left elbow and will miss three or four games.

Blowers was hurt diving into first base Friday night when he was doubled off on a line drive.

“I jammed my arm into the bag and my first thought was I’d broken my arm,” he said, showing off a healthy bruise inside the elbow and forearm. “My hand was tingling. They told me if I woke up today with a lot of pain, there might be a problem.”

Blowers woke up feeling slightly better than he had Friday, got to the park early for treatment and was told he’ll sit for a few days.

And while the team was treating Blowers, first-base coach Sam Mejias complained of stomach pains before the game - and was sent to a hospital, where he was kept overnight. The team didn’t release further details, and it’s not known if Mejias will rejoin the team today or not.

In his absence, infield coach Steve Smith coached first base Saturday.

Moon over New York

Nothing can quite prepare a man for this city, or for what awaits a player once he arrives at Yankee Stadium.

The team bus gets mooned each day by a men’s clothing shop owner, who walks to the door of his establishment, turns his back and drops his well-tailored pants.

Media madness

In the visiting clubhouse Friday, the Mariners were besieged by the largest contingent of media in the American League. Near his cubicle, Ken Griffey Jr. held court with more than a dozen writers at one point, and as one would leave a new one would replace him.

Among the questions asked: How many times have the Seattle Mariners been sold in his tenure and did he expect another sale?

Manager Lou Piniella’s office held 15 writers at one point, and the questions he was asked dealt with the public’s fascination with home runs and home run hitters.

“People love power,” Piniella said. “They like the long drivers in golf, not the great putters. They’ll pay to see two heavyweights fight, but not two middleweights. People love power.”

Someone also asked how it felt to have not known Tino Martinez was a great player before trading him.

Piniella, who survived years in New York, held his temper and explained the Mariners knew how good Tino was but couldn’t afford him.

“We got a young pitcher and Russ Davis in that deal,” Piniella said. “Davis is playing very well for us, and the pitcher we got eventually wound up getting us two pitchers, Omar Olivares and Felipe Lira. Did we want to give up Tino? No. I told George Steinbrenner the day we made the deal, ‘You’re going to love this man.”’

Notes

Seattle has narrowed its search for pitching, focusing on relievers Roberto Hernandez, Mike Timlin and Ricky Bottalico and perhaps another veteran starting pitcher, but the asking price of other teams continues to be high - minor-league pitcher Ken Cloude, catcher Jason Varitek and outfielder Jose Cruz Jr., are the players teams want. “You have to give quality to get quality,” one Seattle executive said, “but the question is how much do you give up?” Not even the Mariners’ front office, manager and coaches have unanimous agreement on that question… . For those concerned about the home-run drought of Ken Griffey Jr., it was not the longest of his career - nor very close to it. Griffey had gone 59 at-bats between homers No. 30 and No. 31, but in 1990 he once went 101 at-bats between home runs.

Coming up

The M’s and Yankees conclude this three-game series with a 10:35 a.m. game in Yankee Stadium that will be televised on TCI Cable 25.

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