Thomas’ smart move: There’s a difference between Jake Locker and Isaiah Thomas. For Locker, you felt that playing at Washington was important to him, maybe as important as having a career in the NFL. For Thomas, making the NBA is his primary goal. Thomas said it himself yesterday: “I came to the University of Washington … to have coach Romar and my teammates help fulfill my dream of getting to the NBA. Another season playing shooting guard at UW — a position that at his height he could never play at the next level, not even in Europe — doesn’t help him. If he wants to be in the league, he’s better off starting the process now. For more on Thomas’ decision to leave UW, read Todd’s piece.
Montero may miss San Jose game: The Sounders may have to replace their most irreplaceable player, at least for one game, as Fredy Montero had surgery to repair a slight wrist fracture and may miss Saturday’s game at San Jose. The Sounders will need someone with skill on the front line, so who moves up? Friberg? Rosales? Stanley has a great preview of the match.
Wedge names today’s season opening lineup: Ready? It’s Ichiro, Figgins, Bradley, Cust, Smoak, Olivo, Langerhans, Ryan, Wilson. Brandon League is your likely closer. Season opener and King Felix Day. Hoorah! John talked to Eric Wedge about the Aardsma-less bullpen and why Langerhans got the nod.
Top five 2011 Mariner slogans if they were being honest…
1) Your 2011 Seattle Mariners: The Stars of Never, Today!
2) Your 2011 Seattle Mariners: Keeping Milton Bradley off the Streets
3) Your 2011 Seattle Mariners: All the Scoring of Soccer, Stretched Out Over Three Hours
4) Your 2011 Seattle Mariners: Sodo No-Gos
5) Your 2011 Seattle Mariners: We’ll Draft Isaiah Thomas if No One Else Does
What they’re saying…
“Thanks #HuskyNation I Love you guys!!! I will forever BLEED PURPLE #GoDawgs” — Isaiah Thomas, via Twitter
“He could come back and do some great things individually and he could help us win a lot of games. But in terms of (the NBA’s) perception of him, I think they got a pretty good look this year.” — Lorenzo Romar
“Many GMs torn about Isaiah Thomas’ NBA potential. It has been hot topic of discussion the past few years. He has not been under the radar.” — NBA writer Gary Washburn
“You get very emotional thinking about this team. There is love at times, thats why going to the playoffs with the Mariners would be totally different from just going to playoffs (with any other team). For me, its about going to the playoffs with the Mariners. Its all the time youve spent getting there.” — Ichiro
Meet an M’s pitcher: Felix Hernandez
King Felix will defend his Cy Young title with a 96-98 mph straight (a.k.a. four-seam) fastball, a 90-92 mph moving (a.k.a. two-seam) fastball and that knee-buckling curve. He’s mixing in a “power changeup” more, so-called because even a Felix Hernandez change-up travels faster than any object you or I will ever throw in our lives.
Tonight’s target: Oakland’s Trevor Cahill…
The 23-year-old Cahill was 18-8 with a 2.97 ERA in 2010, just his second in the bigs. The somewhat unexpected success came from Cahill’s mastery of a sinking fastball, which he’ll spot to either side of the plate. Cahill had a scholarship to Dartmouth lined up before deciding to sign with the A’s out of high school. A TRAITOR TO THE BIG GREEN IS NO FRIEND OF OURS! DESTROY HIM, MARINERS!
In other news…
M’s star Ichiro spoke at length yesterday about aging, about Eric Wedge, and about his love for the Mariners.
Here’s Jake Locker’s team workout schedule, via SI’s Jim Trotter: Titans yesterday, Broncos today, Seahawks next week. The Broncos? With Tim Tebow and Jake Locker, they could leadership and work ethic their way to the Super Bowl!
M’s injured closer David Aardsma threw a 25-pitch bullpen session and felt fine. Still no schedule for his return, though.
Former Mariner Josh Wilson signed with the Diamondbacks.
The Seattle city attorney’s office will drop the misdemeanor furnished alcohol to a minor charge against Venoy Overton provided Overton performs 24 hours of community service and stays out of trouble for a year.
Current Gonzaga coach Kelly Graves won’t take the women’s hoops job at UW.
Seven days closer to a championship…
Today, April 1
Baseball (for real!): Mariners @ Oakland, 7:07 p.m. (MLB Network, FSN now ROOT)
Saturday, April 2
Mariners @ Oakland, 6:07 p.m. (FSN now ROOT)
Sounders @ San Jose, 7:30 p.m. (KONG)
Sunday, April 3
Mariners @ Oakland, 1:07 p.m. (FSN now ROOT)
Monday, April 4
Mariners @ Texas, 5:05 p.m. (FSN now ROOT)
Tuesday, April 5
Mariners @ Texas, 5:05 p.m. (FSN now ROOT)Note: this is Pineda’s first start
Wednesday, April 6
Mariners @ Texas, 11:05 a.m. (FSN now ROOT)
Thursday, April 7
Check out my Seattle sports calendar, currently listing all M’s, Sounders, and Husky football and now Storm games. I use it in conjuction with my Google calendar to make sure I don’t schedule oral surgery during a big game.