Mariners Insider Blog

Wakamatsu can't wait for spring training - and he doesn't

Since the day he was hired as the manager of the Seattle Mariners, Don Wakamatsu's off-season ended.

"I probably talk to two of my coaches every day, and I'm touching base with as many people as possible," he said. "I've had thoughts on lineups – I've played around with a lot of different things.

"I've been thinking about bunt plays, hit-and-runs, ways to cut down walks from our pithing staff and increase them with our offense, fundamental defense. I've even looked at details like last year's spring training stats.

"Your mind wants to think baseball 24/7. I try to reserve Sunday for family."

And, keep in mind, this is the off-season – Wakamatsu's down time.

"Your mind just wants to roll," Wakamatsu said. "I want to make the fans happy, the ownership happy. That's a responsibility and I take it seriously."

What's been the toughest part of being a first-time manager?

"The staff hiring process was much more difficult than I assumed," he said. "There were so many good candidates, so many relationships involved. Some guys I thought I'd have, it ended up being another guy. The hardest part was calling friends and saying no."

And when did it hit Wakamatsu that he was, indeed, a major league manager.

"That's funny, but it was at the winter meetings last month. When they took the photos of all the American League managers as a group, it hit me. To be part of that fraternity was special," he said. "It really sunk in."

Later this week, Wakamatsu will fly to Seattle for organizational meetings, and – for the first time – his coaching staff will be together in one room to talk baseball.

In the meantime, he mans the telephone at home.

"The other day I called Chuck Tanner just to talk baseball," he said. "He has so many stories, so much information. He's a wonderful story teller, a passionate baseball man. I want to hear and learn from everyone I can."

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