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After health scare, Seattle’s Jerry Dipoto getting back to normal

Seattle Mariners General Manager Jerry Dipoto answers questions during a  media event,  Jan. 24  in Seattle. (Steve Ringman / AP)
By Tim Booth Associated Press

PEORIA, Ariz. – Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto completed his morning routine Tuesday then headed out for a jog. It was only 3 1/2 miles, a minuscule total for a lifetime runner like Dipoto who used to take weekly jogs of 10 to 12 miles.

But it was the first time he had run more than a mile without stopping since he was hospitalized during the baseball winter meetings in December with blood clots in his lungs.

“It used to be something for all my life I enjoyed doing and gives you a chance to clear your mind, gives you some semblance of shape and for a couple of months I wasn’t able to do it,” Dipoto said. “This morning for my initial foray into going 3 miles or longer without having to stop and allow myself to catch up, it was fun.”

The 50-year-old Dipoto had a hectic offseason, his fourth in charge of the Mariners, as he overhauled Seattle’s roster in the hopes of creating a contender in two or three years rather than remaining on the fringes of the postseason. Seattle won 89 games last season but still finished eight games out of the wild-card race, leading to an offseason that featured nine trades and a handful of free-agent signings.

One of those trades stands out above the others because of how it was completed. When Seattle acquired Edwin Encarnacion from Cleveland in exchange for Carlos Santana, Dipoto had to give a thumbs up from his hospital bed in Las Vegas. He’d been taken there a day earlier after feeling ill for several days and suffering from chest pains. Dipoto’s illness left manager Scott Servais and assistant general manager Justin Hollander to finish up the details of the trade.

“I think that was a little overblown. … We had done 90 percent of that trade before I had to go to the hospital and Justin and Scott saw it through,” Dipoto said. “I was sitting there giving them a thumbs up with an IV hooked up. I barely remember it. Justin still fills me in on some small details of it.”

The situation was scary for Dipoto and his family. But other than having to take it easy for the first few weeks after being hospitalized, the only major changes Dipoto had to make were adding a battery of medications and limiting his running. It’s not the first time Dipoto dealt with blood clots, but he noted there had been a two-decade gap between issues.

“I’ve been through a fair bit in my life and it’s cultured me to deal with it,” Dipoto said. “Scares my wife every time, but hopefully this is the last of them, at least for a while.”

Mariners 4, Rangers 4: Down 4-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Mariners rallied to finish with a tie against Texas in Peoria, Arizona, on Tuesday.

Facing Rangers right-handed reliever Phillips Valdez, Jake Fraley smashed a two-out, two-run homer to right field to cut the lead to 4-3. Chris Mariscal followed with a solo homer to left field to tie the game. But Valdez came back to strike out Dom Thompson-Williams looking to end the game.

“The young guys are taking advantage it,” Servais said. “Every at-bat is important. Fraley has big power. He’s made some swing adjustments in his game. He’s a different player than when he came out of college.”