Brass musings

  • Saturday, June 19, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

Several members of the Seattle Mariners front office were in attendance for Friday’s season opener including Benny Looper, the Mariners’ vice president for player development and scouting.

Looper was looking forward to getting a good look at some of the Mariners’ young talent.

“I’m anxious to see it,” Looper said. “Some of the guys from the draft I’ve seen and some of them I didn’t see. So I haven’t actually laid eyes on some of the players other than the reports our scouts have given, so I’m anxious to see how they’re going to shape up.”

But with several of the AquaSox arriving from extended spring training in Peoria, Ariz., and those players Looper likes, though he was reluctant to single any particular players out for additional praise.

“We’ve got a lot of young guys here from extended that we think have some potential,” Looper said. “This is a different kind of ball here. They played last year in the rookie league where it’s 110 degrees every day and there’s three or four people in attendance. They’re under the lights now and we’re anxious to see how they respond under lights with a crowd watching them.”

One player Looper had good things to say about was Yung Chi Chen, Everett’s 20-year-old infielder from Taiwan.

“He’s a good-looking player,” Looper said. “He’s got good hands, catches and throws the ball well, puts the bat on the ball, seems to know how to play the game and has quite a bit of international experience. I think he’ll be fun to watch.”

Looper also said should more players on their way to Everett once the Mariners sign more of their 2004 draft picks, though he wouldn’t specify who would be coming to Everett if they signed.

“This roster will be pretty fluid, probably,” Looper said. “There will be some players going out of here, hopefully there’s some players from the draft that we haven’t signed who could be here. There will be some changes throughout the year.

“Our guys and the staff are excited about the year and looking forward to getting started.”

Roll the biscuit: It’s one of baseball’s most worn cliches: A pitcher’s best friend is the double play.

But there’s a reason why the cliche has gotten so much mileage, and that’s something AquaSox pitcher Aaron Jensen learned Friday night.

Jensen was the beneficiary of double plays in each of the first three innings of Everett’s opening-night 11-1 victory over Vancouver. The double plays kept the game scoreless until the AquaSox were able to break through for five runs in the bottom of the third. Jensen ended up tossing five scoreless innings to earn his first professional victory.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen that happen, where every inning for three innings you get a double play,” Jensen said. “It’s awesome going from one out to three outs, you couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Chen, playing second base, turned all three double plays. The one in the second inning, started by third baseman Oswaldo Navarro, ended a bases-loaded threat. Then Chen turned the double play in the third even after shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera bobbled the initial grounder.

“Those double plays were a crucial part of the game,” Everett manager Pedro Grifol said. “We were in a jam three innings in a row and we were able to turn that double play. In my opinion it was the biggest part of the game.”

Nick Patterson, Herald Writer

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