Let's get this out of the way first....
Speaking of the big first baseman, he's back in the line-up again today, this time batting sixth. One thing that manager John McLaren mentioned last night is that Richie is batting with a more open stance. I wanted to ask Richmond Lockwood Sexson about it, but he was nowhere to be found in the clubhouse.
Here's the lineup quickly
Jamie Burke's personal pitcher
I talked with Balentien today. He said he's also been doing private work with Pentland to kind of adjust some things that were necessary.
"Everybody was throwing hard inside and soft away," Balentien said.
He thinks he's taking steps to adjust to that, but more than anything is pitch selection and not settling.
"In Triple A, guys make more mistake pitches, up here you might only see one mistake an at-bat if you are lucky," he said.
We also met with Bob Fontaine, the Mariners' vice president of scouting. He talked about the draft on Thursday.
The Mariners pick 20th and he feels that they will get somebody solid. He admitted that they are leaning toward college players, particularly starting pitching, relievers and a left-handed bats.
He didn't let on too much, but admitted that many teams are being tight-lipped about the early picks and the scenarios are all over the place. Nearly every mock draft has a multitude of possibilities.
Here's the guru Jim Callis of Baseball America's mock draft .... He has the Mariners taking ...
20. MARINERS. Seattle grabbed a high school righthander with Phillippe Aumont at No. 11 last year, and they could go for another in 2008, especially if none of them have gone off the board yet. That would give the Mariners their choice of Melville, Ethan Martin (Georgia) and Jake Odorizzi (Illinois). If they wanted to try to duplicate their success with Brandon Morrow, they could go for Texas Christian closer Andrew Cashner.
Projected Pick: TIM MELVILLE.
Here's Steve Henson of Yahoo's mock draft.... he has the Mariners taking
20. Seattle Mariners – Tim Melville, RHP (Wentzville, Mo., Holt HS): There has been talk that the Cardinals could pluck Melville at the No. 13 spot because he's a local talent, but that rarely tips the scales on draft day. It's more likely that he'll end up with a team willing to take a chance on the top right-handed high school pitcher in the draft.
Here's ESPN's Keith Law's projections .... here's his pick for the Ms
20. Seattle -- Daniel Schlereth, LHP, Arizona
Everyone is assuming the M's will take a college reliever and shoot him to the big leagues to help their beleaguered bullpen. Cashner, Schlereth, Fields and perhaps Aaron Weatherford would fit here, as well as Arizona's Ryan Perry, who was great on the Cape last summer but has had an up-and-down spring. Scouting director Bob Fontaine has long shown a preference for size, which could hurt Schlereth (he's short) but also could help him (he's built like a football player, oddly enough).
MLB.com's Jonanthan Mayo's picks --- he has the Mariners taking ...
20. Seattle Mariners: Shooter Hunt, RHP, Tulane
All along, the feeling was the Mariners would look for the best college pitcher with a live arm. It could be Perry or Cashner if they were here, but they're not in this projection. If they want to go with a safer college arm, Ole Miss right-hander Lance Lynn could be discussed. Or they could go for a closer with someone like Fields. As of this writing, though, we'll say the Tulane ace's slide will stop here.
Last week's projection: Hunt
I love that guy's name.