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February 19, 2013

Skewed Left

A Meeting of the Mariner DHs

by Zachary Levine

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[February 16, 2013. Peoria Sports Complex. The Mariners have all reported for their first mandatory full-squad session, which has divided into position groups for pre-workout meetings. Outfielders are on Field 2 with first base coach MIKE BRUMLEY. Infielders are on Field 1 with bench coach ROBBY THOMPSON, pitchers and catchers are in the bullpen.

Scene opens in the coaches’ conference room where the designated hitters are having their meeting. DAVE HANSEN is addressing KENDRYS MORALES, JESUS MONTERO, RAUL IBANEZ and JASON BAY, who are all seated around a table in full uniform.]

Hansen:  Now as you guys know, playing time at DH is going to be scarce this year. We can only have one of you guys doing it at a time, so I hope that doesn’t make enemies of anybody in this room. We’re all in this for the same goal.

Montero: Can I leave yet? I have to catch Felix’s bullpen.

Hansen: No. Skip told me to keep you in here for this meeting. This is important stuff.

Montero: [Rolls eyes, sits back down]

Hansen: Anyway, some of you have DHed more than others and as you know, it’s an entirely different job altogether.

Montero, Bay, Morales and Ibanez (in unison): It’s an entirely different job.

Hansen: It’s all different preparation. Not to pick on the old guy here, but Raul, what would you say are the most important things to know for the young guys and for Jason the NL guy.

Ibanez: I’d say just know that each AB requires more focus. And you’re going to have a half hour or 45 minutes between ABs so make sure you go up the tunnel every once in a while and stretch or take a few swings in…

[Banging on the door is heard. JUSTIN SMOAK, drenched in sweat, appears outside furiously knocking.]

Hansen: Ignore that. It’s probably Smoak.

Ibanez: What the hell?

Hansen: Ignore him. You were saying, Raul?

[Banging gets louder]

Smoak: Guys I can hear you. Let me in.

Hansen: No, Justin. Go play first base. We have enough DHs for the whole division here. You can’t be here. Now go back out there and work on your short-hops.

Smoak: Come on guys. You saw me out there last year. Let me in. I don’t want to play first base any more.

Hansen: It’s not that hard. Tell him, Raul.

Ibanez: Wow. Hilarious. I was in that movie for like four seconds.

Hansen: Go away, Justin.

Montero: [Turns toward the door] Take me with you.

Hansen: Jesus, Jesus. Did you see the kid from the minors we’ve got out there now? Something tells me he’s catching Felix just fine this morning. This is where you belong. Now pay attention.

Montero: [Rolls eyes, sits back down]

Hansen: Now Jack Z has made it very clear that it’s going to be tough to keep all of you on the roster. There are only 600 ABs for DHs to go around and he wants some flexibility on the roster. You’re all here for a reason. I know you’re all good ballplayers. Raul, we saw what you could do with the Yankees, but you have to prove something this camp. Jesus, we know you had a lot of success in the minors, but you have to prove something this camp. Jason, I know you’ve been a good player before but this isn’t ’08 anymore. You have to show us a lot.

Bay: I know. I’m honoured to be given a shot and I’ll give you everything I have.

Hansen: And Kendrys, I know that…

[Pauses, looks around the room]

Morales: What’s wrong?

Hansen: Guys, where the hell is Michael? I told him to haul his ass in here 10 minutes ago. Raul, go out and make sure he’s not on the field.

[IBANEZ walks to Field 2, where MICHAEL MORSE is nowhere to be found among the outfielders. On his way back in he walks by Field 1 and finds MORSE alternating groundball reps at shortstop with a perturbed-looking BRENDAN RYAN]

Ryan: Are we almost done here?

Morse: As soon as I get 10 in a row in the bucket, I swear I’m done.

Ibanez: Morse! What are you doing? Get inside. Coaches are looking for you.

Morse: Fine. One more. Hey Ryan, do you remember back in ’05 when I was with these guys? I used to kill it over here.

Ryan: No I don’t and no you didn’t. Do you mind if I do some work here?

Morse: Just one more. [Dives for grounder, misses by two feet, stands up with dirt all over his face] Peace out.

[MORSE and IBANEZ walk back inside and sit back down with MORALES, MONTERO, and BAY]

Hansen: Dammit Michael, what’s all over your face? You know what? I don’t even want to hear it. Can we just get started? Now that I have you all here, I wanted to go over the new routine. As you probably know—sit back in that chair, Jesus—our DHs didn’t do so hot last year. Jack Z told me we were last in the league in pretty much everything at DH. Average, on-base, you name it. We have to be better.

Montero: Glad that Jaso guy is gone then. I think he was the problem.

Hansen: Sure he was. Anyway, we’re going to be doing things a little differently for home games from the time BP ends. You guys—or whoever is playing DH that day—are going to take BP in the last group. Then you and a couple of the guys who aren’t starting are going to head down to the cage around 5:45 or whenever is about an hour and change before game time and…

[Loud banging on the door]

Hansen: Go away, Smoak. If I open the door and you’re standing there, I swear to God.

[Banging gets louder, HANSEN opens the door, MIKE JACOBS walks in wearing street clothes.]

Hansen: Who the hell are you? Let me guess, we were one DH short on this lovely roster.

Jacobs: Mike Jacobs, sir. I’m here as a non-roster guy and Skip sent me in here for some kind of a meeting.

Hansen: [Rolls eyes, sits back down]

Montero: [Runs out of the room, puts on catcher’s gear]

Morse: [Runs out of the room, puts on outfielder’s glove]

Bay: [Runs out of the room, puts on outfielder’s glove]

Morales: [Runs of the room, puts on first baseman’s glove]

Jacobs: [Runs out of the room, puts on first baseman’s glove]

Ryan: [Runs off the field, takes FRANKLIN GUTIERREZ with him, files retirement papers]

Zachary Levine is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Zachary's other articles. You can contact Zachary by clicking here

Related Content:  Seattle Mariners,  Mariners

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