SEATTLE – Jay Buhner and his family attended the game at Safeco Field Friday, and four hours before first pitch, Buhner was in the Seattle Mariners’ clubhouse, sitting next to former teammate Ken Griffey Jr.
As the two entertained players, coaches, media members and anyone else who happened by, the Mariners’ video specialist – Carl Hamilton – slipped in a video of Jay Buhner hitting in 1995.
On one play, Buhner slid hard into second base, kicked the ball away from the infielder and raced on to third base.
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“Look at those wheels!” Buhner yelled.
After watching Buhner hit balls out in the Kingdome, then old Tigers Stadium, reliever Mark Lowe had a question.
“Did you hit home runs in any parks that are still in existence?” he asked.
“Yes, but you weren’t born yet,” Buhner replied.
It was a warm and fuzzy afternoon in the clubhouse.
On the field, neither Ichiro Suzuki nor Adrian Beltre was ready to play yet – and Junior was shelved for the day with a sore left knee.
Beltre was eligible to come off the disabled list, but he still has swelling in his bruised testicle. He might not play until rosters expand Tuesday. Ichiro, still getting treatment for a strained calf, took batting practice and stretched, but he did not run at full speed.
“Ichiro will have a say in when he’s ready to play, and so will the training staff,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “Right now, neither thinks he’s ready, and I really don’t know when he’ll play again. He’s still day-to-day.”
He’s joking … right?
Kansas City’s Jose Guillen, a former Mariner, is rehabbing his right knee, which he sprained while putting on a shin guard before an at-bat last month.
“It was beyond strange,” Guillen said. “I thought I’d broken my leg – and no one believed me. They thought I was joking. I started screaming, and finally they believed me. I couldn’t walk out of the dugout without help.”
Jack Wilson, who had two hits Thursday – including his first American League home run – was given the night off. Josh Wilson started in his place at shortstop. … Think Ichiro would love to be facing Kansas City pitching? His career average against the Royals is .373. … Seattle began the night with a streak of hitting home runs in 11 consecutive games, still considerably short of the team-record 19 straight achieved in 1999. During the current streak, Russell Branyan and Jose Lopez have each homered four times. … Franklin Gutierrez is a career .340 hitter when batting leadoff. In the first four games without Ichiro, Gutierrez hit .417. … Slim pickings for the Mariners offense again Friday: Six of the nine players in the starting lineup had fewer than 25 RBI for the season. … Former Mariner Willie Bloomquist hasn’t started the first two games of this series but will play tonight, the Royals said.
Seattle hosts Kansas City in a 7:10 p.m. game today that will be televised on FSN Probable starting pitchers: Gil Melche (6-9, 4.75 ERA) vs. Ian Snell (2-1, 5.40).