Don Wakamatsu is challenging his Seattle Mariners players to have career seasons in 2010 - a position made easier by the fact he did the same thing in 2009.
And last year, he and his coaches got quite a few of the Mariners to do just that.
"You look at David Aardsma, a guy who didn't have a career save, and then he saved 38 games," Wakamatsu said. "Jose Lopez had a career high in home runs and RBI, Russell Branyan did the same, Felix Hernandez had his best year.
"Mark Lowe had a big season, Ichiro had one of his best years, Franklin Gutierrrez ..."
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The point is the Mariners staff - and thus, the team - wants to be known as helping players improve, from All-Stars to minor leaguers. Part of that, Wakamatsu said, is voicing expectations.
"Ichiro was interviewed for a story the other day, and he said something I'm going to put on a t-shirt," Wak said.
The quote, from a story by Brad Lefton:
"The only players who feel no pressure, are those who have either given up, have nothing expected of them or are so divinely blessed they needn't fret," Ichiro said.
"That's poetry," Wakamatsu said. "I'm having that put on a t-shirt. If players like Ichiro and Felix think they can improve, how can other players not follow their example?
"Last year we had guys like Ryan Langerhans - who Jack (Zdufriencik) picked up from the Nationals minor league system - come in and hit a pair of walk-off home runs."
When Wakamatsu issues a challenge, he includes himself in it.
"Our job as coaches is to help every player improve," he said. "Talent wins, no question. But like Ichiro said, you have to expect results to get them, and we have to help our players reach their potential."