OAKLAND Its a measure of just how seriously Seattle shortstop Brendan Ryan takes his craft that he was kicking himself Saturday after making a diving catch of a ball smoked up the middle by As center fielder Coco Crisp.
Mariner second baseman Jack Wilson came over to offer congratulations on the tough catch, and the first thing Ryan had to say to him was “I should have let it drop.
At the time of the Crisp at-bat, Oakland had shortstop Cliff Pennington on first base with no one out. If Ryan lets the ball drop, he can probably sell the umpires on converting the line drive into a double play.
“It was one of those plays where I knew right away that I should have let the ball come out of my glove a roll a few inches away, Ryan said. “Crisp hit it hard; he was still in the batters box. It would have been an easy double play.
As it happened, Pennington came around to score the games first run moments later on a double by Daric Barton, and Ryan wasnt happy, although the Mariners went on to win the game, 5-2.
Seattle manager Eric Wedge wasnt buying into that.
“That ball was hit so hard, Im just happy that Ryan caught the ball, Wedge said. “It was a real nice play.
But Ryan said it was a learning experience.
“Im pretty hard on myself about stuff like that, Ryan, in his first year with the Mariners after starting his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, said. “Down the line, thats something that Im going to want to do if a play like that comes up again.
“When youre playing defense, its all about maximizing outs.
NOTES: It was Japanese Heritage Day Sunday in Oakland, and part of the day was devoted to a silent auction with all benefits going to aid in the massive amount of work to recover and rebuild in Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami. There was one signed Ichiro Suzuki Mariner jersey and one signed Hideki Matsui A’s jersey, and interestingly, the Ichiro jersey sold for $6,015 and the Matsui jersey went for $4,555. … Doug Fister started six innings against the As on Sunday, and in five of them he put the leadoff man on. It meant that he pitched out of the stretch virtually the entire day. “I didnt do a good job of that, he said. “You still have to try and make your pitches in those situations. Thats what counts.
The Rangers have flopped the first two pitchers in their rotation to face the Mariners Monday through Wednesday. Lefty Derek Holland will move up to pitch Monday and right-hander Alexi Ogando will move back to pitch Tuesday. Opening Day starter C.J. Wilson will throw Wednesday. Seattle will counter with Erik Bedard, Michael Pineda and Felix Hernandez. The Mariners have five steals, a total that is the best in the AL through two games, but they also have been picked off three times in the first 18 innings. Wedge said one of the three, Ryan being picked off first in the second inning Saturday, was “on me because the manager signaled for Ryan to run as soon as starter Brett Anderson went into his motion. A second pickoff, this one of Ichiro by Craig Breslow in the sixth inning in the Friday opener, led Wedge to say “I thought it was a balk move. The manager says he like the aggressive moves. “Were going to get caught occasionally, Wedge said, “but that will happen if youre being aggressive.
Wedge was willing to use Miguel Olivo to hit in the ninth inning for Adam Moore Saturday, replacing one of his two catchers with the other. The manager was asked Sunday who the replacement would be if, for example, Olivos spring groin injury cropped up again. “I asked that same question the other day, Wedge said, “whod be the emergency catcher. Adam Kennedy jumped up. It would have been interesting Brandon League throwing (in the bottom of the ninth) to Adam Kennedy. You gotta do what you gotta do to win that game. For the record, Kennedy has not caught professionally, so it would be, as they say, something of an adventure. Matsui had his 2,500th hit as a professional (counting both play in Japan and in North America), but his celebration didnt last long. He tried to tag up and go to third on a medium-deep fly to right, and countryman Ichiro threw him out easily.