Like most managers, what Don Wakamatsu wants most from his catcher is defense. Having been a catcher, he knows how tough that request can be to fulfill.
With seven catchers in camp with the Seattle Mariners, finding two for the opening day roster should be easy, yes? Maybe not.
Two games into the Cactus League season, Adam Moore has looked good, Rob Johnson has had a 'minor' setback - and three guys brought in with as shot at being a backup catcher have struggled.
That's not exactly what Wakamatsu and his staff wanted to see.
Johnson is coming off surgeries to both hips, and the team wasn't certain he'd be healthy enough to play regularly in April even before he suffered a setback this week..
Rookie Steven Baron, 19, is here to listen, learn and catch in the minor leagues.
Moore, p;romising as hd is, has six games of big-league experience.
Given all that, the team and general manager Jack Zduriencik brought in journeyman veterans Josh Bard, Eliezer Alfonzo, Guillermo Quiroz and Luis Oliveros.
Bard was behind the plate when hard-throwing Brandon League was charged with two wild pitches, both on split-fingered fastballs, one of which set up a San Diego run. Neither were easy plays, and neither was made.
In Seattle's first gamd, Quiroz dropped a routine pop foul when he tried to nonchalantly one-hand it Eliezer Alfonzo threw behind a base-runner – in the 10th inning, no less – on a stolen base
That's not how to win a job that's predicated almost entirely upon defense, and the Mariners aren't nitpicking. They've been soundly unimpressed in workouts all spring.
Don’t be surprised if, in the next few weeks, Zduriencik finds another backup catcher – one whose resume reads ‘good defense.’