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Mariner notes: Powell puts on Seattle uniform again

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By Kirby Arnold
Herald Writer
Published:
Nineteen years after he played 57 games as a 26 year-old outfielder for the Mariners in 1991, Alonzo Powell put on their big-league uniform again Sunday as the team’s newest hitting coach.
On the day the struggling Mariners fired hitting coach Alan Cockrell, they replaced him with Powell, a 45-year-old who has been a hitting coach or coordinator in their minor league system since 2007.
“You never want to see someone get fired during the year. I’ve known Alan a long time,” Powell said.
Powell and Cockrell, in fact, played together for the Class A Everett Giants early in the 1984 season.
“We came up in the Giants organization together,” Powell said. “He’s a good friend, but this is baseball and things like this happen.”
For Powell, it happened about 10 a.m. Sunday when he was at Cheney Stadium preparing for the Rainiers’ game against Las Vegas when Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik called.
“I gave him a real simple message,” Zduriencik said. “I said we’ve relieved Alan of his hitting duties and would you be interested in being our major league hitting coach?”
Powell said yes, then scrambled to make it to Safeco Field in time to prepare for the Mariners’ game. He’s familiar with most of the Mariners after working with them daily during spring training.
“I’ve had a lot of time to work with the guys in the cage, so that makes the transition a little easier for me,” Powell said. “Baseball is a long grind-it-out process. Hopefully guys can turn it around. We still have plenty of time to get things going and we should be all right.”
The DH dilemma
The Mariners will begin a nine-game road trip on Tuesday in Baltimore, and as the pitching matchups stand now, they could face right-handed starting pitchers in every game.
If manager Don Wakamatsu sticks with his current platoon at designated hitter, it could mean right-handed-hitting Mike Sweeney could be locked out of more than a week of playing time.
Wakamatsu said he hoped to start Sweeney in at least a couple of games on the trip.
It also will be interesting to see how Wakamatsu uses Ken Griffey Jr., who went 0-for-3 with a walk on Sunday, lowering his average to .208. Griffey has batted fifth in all 19 games he’s played this season, although Wakamatsu may choose to drop Griffey in the batting order, if not look for other DH options, as he continues to find ways to invigorate the offense.
Of note
First baseman Casey Kotchman didn’t start because of a sore right ankle, the result of getting hit by a pitch late in Saturday night’s game. Kotchman, batting third much of the time, went 1-for-31 on the homestand. ... Ryan Langerhans played first base Sunday for only the third time in his big-league career. He’d played twice with the Washington Nationals in 2008. ... Wakamatsu said shortstop Jack Wilson (tight right hamstring) should be ready to play Tuesday night at Baltimore. The Mariners won’t know for sure, however, until after Wilson takes part in Erik Bedard’s simulated game after batting practice Tuesday. ... Many of the Mariners used pink bats and wore pink wrist bands Sunday as baseball observed breast cancer awareness on Mother’s Day. Seven of the nine starters used pink bats. Michael Saunders, called up late last week, couldn’t get pink bats in time for the game and Ichiro Suzuki, who makes pink a regular part of his unique off-field wardrobe, stuck with his standard black bat. ... The Mariners stole a season-high four bases Sunday, three by Suzuki. It was the 10th time in his career he’d stolen at least three in a game. His three hits and three steals in the same game marked the seventh time in Mariners history a player had done that. The last were Alex Rodriguez and Rich Amaral in 1998.
Story tags » Mariners

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