Ten games into his managerial career in Seattle, Jim Riggleman has installed a 10-minute series of workouts for the Mariners – infielders, pitchers and outfielders – and on Tuesday someone asked if he'd seen any results.
"Those guys are good fielders, so we might not see any results. We might not see results from batting practice but we still do it every day," Riggleman said.
That got a laugh, since the most glaring weakness of his team is offense. Just what kind of team did Rigglemen inherit?
"I think what it did last year was its potential," he said. "Each spot, ,it seems like they all had good offensive years – (Kenji) Johjima .287, Yuniesky Betancourt had 65 RBI or something, (Jose) Lopez had a real good first half, Ichiro 250-some hits, (Raul) Ibanez 100-some RBI.. I would say that is our potential.
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"We don't really have an identity, and that's OK. We don't have to be a big-time running team. The running game was so big in the '80s and then it kind of slacked off and power was big.
"I think we're going to go back the other way eventually. I think in the next two years we're going to see more athletic, running teams," Riggleman said.
For now, Riggleman will try to build on what the Mariners do well.
"We play pretty good defense. We're not a great defensive club by any means, but when the ball gets hit, I feel good. I feel like we're going to make this play. We have a lot of good arms on the infield, and we've got Ichiro in right and Willie (Bloomquist) and (Jeremy) Reed in center. Raul just turned 36 but to me he's running around really good out there. I feel good when the ball's in play," Riggleman said.
Still, Riggleman has added drills, working with different groups each day, to keep his players fresh, defensively.
"You want to get a little work in, do it before batting practice – that's when balls start flying all over the place," he said.