Mike Sweeney hasn't stepped out of the Seattle Mariners dugout in two games, despite coming out of spring training as the hottest hitter on the team.
A .500 batting average didn't get him in the lineup against lefty Dallas Braden on Tuesday, when Milton Bradley was the designated hitter and Eric Byrnes played left field.
It may be the Mariners are being cautious with Bradley, who had a tight quad on Sunday. It could be they simply wanted to get Byrnes in a game Tuesday, put Sweeney in against a lefty on Thursday.
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That hasn't stopped Sweeney's work off the field.
At the moment, the Mariners bullpen is on the field running pass paterns as conditioning drills and there - in the middle of it all - is Sweeney, wearing a stocking cap, shorts and a huge smile. He's covered pass routes, checked pitchers trying to get off the line and run a deep post pattern or two.
Conditioning - running - is no fun no matter what the circumstance, let alone after a tough game. One wouldn't know that watching Sweeney - or more importantly, hearing him. He has teammates laughing, smiling and working.
It's a small thing in a long season, and Sweeney will get chances to contribute at the plate. Until then, he's being Mike Sweeney - a valuable commodity all by himself.