As you know, I've probably been pretty critical of Yuniesky Betancourt since I started covering the Mariners. I used to think he simply didn't get it - as in understanding how to put a good at-bat together – but now I see he simply just isn't learning, either out of stubbornness or ignorance. Regardless of why, this message needs to be delivered to Mr. Betancourt: "We've had enough. Your recent performances simply will not be accepted. Take a seat on the bench and take some time to figure it out."
He should be sat and sat for an extended period to deliver a message that either get with the program, start learning, start focusing in games or we'll move on without you. Do I think Ronny Cedeno is the everyday answer at shortstop? Not completely, but right now I would trust him more than Betancourt. Part of the reason Cedeno never really hit it off with Lou Piniella with the Cubs is rumored to be that Lou thought Cedeno was flighty and lost focus during games. If Cedeno was flighty, what does that make Yuni?
Could you imagine Lou trying to manage Yuni? It would be vicious and short-lived because Lou could have never stomached Yuni's recent stretch of play without a tirade or a tantrum. And he simply would have gotten rid of him.
Manager Don Wakamatsu seems to have a pretty good poker face, but he lets a few verbal jabs slip in from time to time. As he was trying to explain the back-to-back errors Yuni committed in Sunday's loss, there was a tone of exasperation in his voice. And he ended his thought with this, "It's about focus."
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Clearly Yuni is lacking it right now, and Wakamatsu might be best served to deliver a message and bench him for more than a few games. So far everything else he's tried with Yuni hasn't worked. I know it's early, but letting it go on a few more games just allows Yuni to believe he can get away with playing that way, despite the Mariners' coaching staff's preachings and scoldings. Wakamatsu has always maintained that from day one he would do what's best for the team, first and foremost. Feelings and other circumstances be damned.
Look, I don't hate Yuni, and I don't doubt his talent. But at this point you have to question his willingness to learn, his ambition to improve and his overall role in this organization. He's regressed and it's frustrating to watch.
Ok, there's my Yuni rant. Here's another one from the USS Mariner. I could go on for another 10,000 words but its really just the same complaints and same solutions.
Sunday's game was a sluggish one, as I wrote in my game story for today's paper. The kind of lethargy, fueled by Yuni's errors, made it feel like many of the games I covered last year, and that's something this new staff has worked hard to avoid.
Here's the AP story from Tim Booth which focuses on Rick Porcello getting his first career win. Porcello looked pretty solid over seven innings. Wakamatsu mentioned his poise for being so young and Ronny Cedeno, who homered off Porcello, was surprised to hear that the kid is only 20 years old - the youngest player in the majors.
Here's the game notebook.
Columnist John McGrath was at the game and wrote about the Mariners offense, or lack thereof. Also, if you didn't get the chance, you should check out Johnny Mac's column on the 50th anniversary season of Cheney Stadium. Good stuff.
Ibanez also hit a walk-off homer for the Phils on Sunday.
Rainiers announcer and TNT contributor Mike Curto has his minor league notebook, leading with the hot hitting of Mike Carp. Also Mike covered Sunday's Rainier win thanks to a Jeff Clement game-winning hit.
ESPN's Jim Caple has a nice story on the Mariners.
A few of my fellow Montanans were here to cover the first two days of the opening homestand. Bill Foley of the Montana Standard in Butte (a UM grad) wrote a big story on hometown boy Rob Johnson.
Here's Baseball America's Matt Eddy's wrap up of the Mariners minor league system.
Richard Justice of the Houston Chronicle and the Sporting News, says the Mariners are one of five teams that will be staying around in the mix all season.
Yahoo's Jeff Passan believes the 500 homer club is losing it's importance. I couldn't agree more.