By Kirby Arnold Herald Writer
SEATTLE — Mariners first base coach Mike Brumley will have one day to cleanse his mind of the 2010 season before he begins work for 2011.
On Tuesday, two days after the Mariners’ final game, Brumley will be on a practice field at the Mariners’ training complex in Peoria, Ariz., working with the future of the franchise — Dustin Ackley.
They will spend the week working primarily on baserunning before Ackley continues preparations for his Arizona Fall League season with the Peoria Javelinas. The Fall League schedule begins Oct. 12.
Brumley worked with Ackley at spring training early this year, but much of the focus then was on his defense at second base. The Mariners want to make Ackley a better baserunner as they look at the possibility he can play in the big leagues in 2011.
Where does Brumley start?
“The prominent thing is to get him into a comfortable stance that he feels like he can explode from,” he said. “You look at a few different areas — where his feet are set up, where his weight is proportioned and what he’s doing with his hands.”
Once Ackley becomes comfortable with the takeoff, Brumley will work with him on the finer points of base-stealing.
“Then you start to talk about what to look for — the type of pitcher a guy is, the areas of the body to watch, counts, understanding pitchout opportunities and just being smart about the idea of working that side of the game,” Brumley said. “Once you become a respected base stealer, they change the way they work you and the things they like to do, like when to go to slide steps, when they are apt not to slide-step. So you start educating them where they can think on their own out there. That’s what you’re looking for.
“It’s like hitting or anything else. You have to get a rhythm, and once you do, then your confidence grows and it’s easier to evaluate situations. Then you don’t worry about, ‘Am I too far from the bag? Can I expand my lead?’”