Around the Cactus League
Seattle Mariners: The Mariners have finished last in the AL West for three consecutive seasons. This year, they will get a few hitting pointers from a legendary DH who showed up at Spring Training on Saturday.
Edgar Martinez, who is Seattle's all-time leader in games played (2,055), at-bats (7,213), hits (2,247), runs (1,219), RBIs (1,261), doubles (514), walks (1,283) and total bases (3,718), will only be around until Monday. But the knowledge he can impart on Seattle's hitters could help the club get out of the AL West cellar.
The seven-time All-Star and two-time batting champion began tutoring newcomer Jose Vidro on the craft of being a designated hitter.
"It does feel different. I haven't been here for a few years," Martinez said inside the same cinderblock clubhouse where he spent spring trainings from 1993 until retiring in 2004. "I didn't know where I was going to go. Or if I had a uniform," said the laughing 44-year-old, who now runs a branding company in Redmond, Wash.
Elsewhere in the Cactus League:
Sammy Sosa is the only player with three 60-homer seasons and fifth on the career list with 588 career home runs, but the 38-year-old slugger is now attempting a comeback after a year out of baseball.
"We're just expecting him to be what he can be," Rangers manager Ron Washington said Saturday. "If he happens to hit 30 home runs, that's fine. I just want him to be a threat. I want him to get his game back together, and I just want him to be a teammate.''
Sosa, still a lanky kid when he made his major league debut with the Rangers in 1989, wasn't brought back to Texas to be any kind of savior. He's not even guaranteed a spot on the team after coming to spring training on a minor league deal.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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SPRING TRAINING NEWS
Follow the day's news from spring training in the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues as we begin the countdown toward Opening Day on Sunday (Mets at world champion Cardinals, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2):
• Colon, Weaver, Figgins on DL
• Pirates send Sanchez to the DL
• Rogers has clot removed, will miss first half
• Sabathia throws, says he's ready for opener
• Pavano to start Opening Day for Yankeees
• A's put Dan Johnson on DL with hip injury
• Walker signs minor league deal with A's
• Grapefruit: Towers wins spot in Jays' rotation
• Cactus: Big Unit to start season on DL