Clubhouse scene: From dance moves to long drives

A few notes from early this morning as the Mariners work off their nervous energy before today’s first big exhibition tilt against those pesky San Francisco Giants:

—The Mariners will hold their version of American Idol with a closed-door talent contest Saturday morning, but already the guys are tuning their voices and getting their dance moves together.

Shawn Kelley is part of a trio known as The Confused Kickers, with Garrett Olson and Luke French as his sidekicks. And this morning as the Mariners killed some time before a meeting, Kelley was spotted demonstrating what we fear will be some of their dance moves — a nice hip swivel followed by a disturbing pelvic thrust with one leg hiked atop a trash can.

For more on the talent contest, check out this piece by Tacoma News Tribune writer Larry LaRue.

Oh, to be a fly on the wall of that room Saturday.

—The long hallway leading from the players’ parking lot to the clubhouse contains a gallery of 28 life-size framed posters of current Mariners. Sometime recently, two more appeared, although the new images certainly aren’t in proportion with the others.

Taped to the wall between Mark Lowe and Brandon League is an itty-bitty, teeny-tiny Sean White. It’s the mug shot from his days pitching for the University of Washington and is the work of fellow relievers David Aardsma and Shawn Kelley.

“Aardsma found the picture and I took care of the rest,” Kelley said.

Across the hall is another flash from a more distant past, a similarly small mug shot of a young guy who looks a lot like Mike Sweeney. No word yet on who found that one.

“It’s from 1999. My passport photo,” Sweeney said. “Back when I had hair.”

—Speaking of relievers, Lowe is the new king of the big blasters on the golf course, having uncorked one of 380 yards to win the long-drive portion of Tuesday’s tournament at the Raven at Verrado in Buckeye.

“I would stroke one down the middle, about 300 yards, and then there goes Lowe’s ball flying by,” Kelley said.

—Representatives from the players’ association are in the clubhouse to hold their annual meeting with the team, and the group includes three Mariners who are executive assistants with the MLBPA — Phil Bradley, Stan Javier and Mike Myers.

—The subject of third basemen and “protection” came up today in a Boston Globe story about Adrian Beltre, who still isn’t wearing a cup.

It brought back the memory of a brief conversation a couple of us had last week with Jose Lopez, who’s giving third base a whirl in camp.

“Jose, you wearing a cup?”

Lopez didn’t say anything. He just “knocked” three times to prove that he was well protected.

—Mariners catching coordinator Roger Hansen walked through the clulbhouse this morning and was asked if he’s getting excited about his “Breakfast Club” for minor leaguers. “Of course,” Hansen said.

The Breakfast Club is anything but breakfast. It’s the 4:30 a.m. run around a dark practice field which serves as a “reminder” that the kids need to adhere to the rules on and off the field.

The minor league pitchers and catchers report on Sunday for physical exams, and Hansen figures he’ll have some Breakfast Club participants very soon.

“You know something will happen,” he said. “It’ll probably happen during the physicals.”

—And finally, everyone on the 40-man roster is now signed. Pitcher Luke French has agreed to a contract for 2010, the team said this morning. He was the last of the unsigned players as the March 11 deadline approached for the club to either sign or renew the contracts of players under their control.

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