Mariners Insider Blog

Beltre fields tough questions, not ground balls

Adrian Beltre came into the clubhouse a day ahead of schedule, shook hands with every player in the room and then was cornered by the media.

All things being equal, he probably should have waited until all position players report today. He wouldn't have been the only guy who immediately was bombarded with questions about 2008.

There was, for instance, an interview with J.J. Putz in Florida insinuating unnamed players were more concerned with their numbers than with winning.

"Some guys played different than how you're supposed to play," Beltre acknowledged. "Do the little things. If you have a guy on second, move him over. If you're losing by two or three runs, don't go up there hacking because even if you hit a home run you're still losing. Play the situation game.

"If you're winning by two or three runs and there are guys on first and second, hit the cutoff man.

"There are little things you can do. Take a walk if you need it. If you need a guy on base, bunt. If you can run, run. It's the little things that make the team see that you're playing to help the team win, not just to help your numbers," Beltre said.

Someone immediately asked if he was referring to Ichiro Suzuki.

"I won't single out anybody, but there are things you see as a veteran player that just don't look right," he said. "I think you guys are making a big deal of what it is. We haven't started playing yet and we're talking about this. My concern is that we all get on the same page and as a group try to get to be bexactly where we want to be. Get off to a good start and be competitive and compete for the West."