Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Seattle Mariners
Sports >  Seattle Mariners

Junior’s start against lefty Zito pays off

As an aging southpaw with a batting average in the low .200s, Ken Griffey Jr. doesn’t get many chances to face left-handed pitchers.

But he made the most of his rare opportunity Sunday afternoon.

Facing San Francisco Giants lefty starter Barry Zito, Griffey smacked the first pitch he saw over the fence in right field for a two-run home run.

After the game, Griffey played down the significance of facing left-handed pitching.

“My dad (Ken Sr.) was left-handed,” he said, “so do you think I really care?”

The left-handed Griffey typically sits when the Mariners face a left-handed starter. But manager Don Wakamatsu said before Sunday’s game that the decision to start Griffey was twofold.

First of all, the Mariners were playing the first of three games against scheduled left-handed starters, meaning Wakamatsu would have to start Griffey against one of the southpaws if he wanted the 39-year-old designated hitter to get playing time.

Wakamatsu also said that Zito’s recent struggles against left-handed batters helped make the decision.

Said Wakamatsu, “I told Griff: ‘Guys like you make managers look smart.’ ”

In three plate appearances against Zito on Sunday, Griffey homered, walked and struck out while batting in the cleanup spot for the second consecutive game.

Everett Herald

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.

New health insurance plans available Nov. 1 through Washington Healthplanfinder

 (Photo courtesy WAHBE)

Fall means the onset of the cold and flu season.