Mangini ready to impress

  • By Kirby Arnold Herald Writer
  • Friday, February 25, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

PEORIA, Ariz. — When Matt Mangini says he feels fine, he really means it this time.

For the first time since midway through last season, the Seattle Mariners’ 25-year-old third-base prospect is healthy and eager to show what he can do at the plate and in the field at spring training.

“I’m all ears and I’m just working hard,” Mangini said Thursday before the Mariners’ morning workout.

Best of all, Mangini said he’s completely healed from a strained right quad muscle that was much worse than he’d thought as he played through the pain the last half of last season. He played well with it, finishing with a career-best .313 average, 18 home runs and 63 RBI at Class AAA Tacoma before being called up to the Mariners in September.

Mangini batted just .211 in 38 at-bats with the Mariners, but it was a taste of the big leagues and the perfect lead-in to an offseason of winter ball that would prepare him well for spring training.

Instead, Mangini spent the winter rehabbing the quad after a postseason exam revealed a partially torn (Grade 2 strain) muscle.

“I was really looking forward to playing in the fall league and I was going to try to go over to Venezuela,” he said. “But we decided it was probably better to make sure it was 100 percent going into spring training. That was my concern. I wanted to show up in shape and not have to get into shape at spring training. I feel good so far, so it was a good decision.”

Mangini hurt the leg during a game in July when he tried to stretch a hit into a double and felt the quad grab. He felt it the rest of the season.

“It wasn’t like I couldn’t walk or anything,” he said. “There was a little bit of pain, but you’re always going to be banged up in a 140-game season. You suck it up and keep going.”

Mangini sucked it up to produce the best of his four minor league seasons since the Mariners selected him in the supplemental round of the 2007 draft. He’d batted .273 with 12 homers and 67 RBI in 2009 at Class AA West Tennessee and backed it up at Tacoma, injury and all.

The key to that success, Mangini said, is that he settled into a routine last year with both his pregame and in-game work.

“I’m real big on routines. Routines give you confidence, they make you feel comfortable and relaxed,” he said. “I had a great routine last year and I’m sticking with it now.”

Darren Brown, who managed Mangini both at Tacoma and in Seattle after he became the Mariners’ interim manager, said the consistency in Mangini’s hitting throughout last year was the product of his hard work.

“We preach that to them but some of them don’t grasp it,” Brown said. “Those kinds of things keep you from getting into slumps. Did I think he’d hit .300 going into the year? No. But he surprised me and he swung the bat well the whole year. He worked at it, he had a routine that he stuck with and he never got into any kind of slump. He was consistent all year.”

Mangini’s slim September numbers with the Mariners weren’t so alarming because that’s part of the process nearly every young player experiences.

“What you saw in September was a kid coming up for the first time getting his feet wet,” Brown said. “He’s shown us he can hit. Now it’s a matter of doing it at the big-league level.”

Read Kirby Arnold’s blog on the Mariners at www.heraldnet.com/marinersblog and follow his Twitter updates on the team at @kirbyarnold.

Talk to us

More in Sports

Granite Falls' Kaleb Roberts rushes with Sultan's Kaden Harwick closing Friday night in Sultan on February 26, 2021 (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Friday night lights finally back on

Granite Falls beats rival Sultan in OT in the area’s first prep football game in more than 15 months.

Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez waits to bat during spring training baseball practice Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Mariners prospect learning from Seattle icon

Julio Rodriguez, just barely 20 years old, is relishing an opportunity to work with Ichiro Suzuki.

Arizona guard Bennedict Mathurin (0), left, and center Christian Koloko (35) smother Washington forward Nate Roberts (1) as they fight for a loose ball goes to the ground in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, in Tucson, Ariz. (Kelly Presnell/Arizona Daily Star via AP)
Huskies edged by Arizona in regular-season finale

Washington’s difficult regular season comes to an end with a hard-fought 75-74 loss on the road.

High School football teams across Snohomish County are closing in on their first game in over a year. (Herald file photos)
Prep football: Key games and the area’s complete schedule

The first H.S. football game in the county in over a year is set to take place this coming Friday.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, right, talks to quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Fla. The Seahawks defeated the Dolphins 31-23.(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Reports show growing divide between Wilson, Seahawks

But despite the star quarterback’s apparent unhappiness, a trade in 2021 remains unlikely.

Austin Johnson, 26 years-old, trains on the Centennial Trail in Lake Stevens and is planning to do a 24-hour run to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
24 hours, 80 miles, $23k raised for mental health

Austin Johnson completes a 24-hour run along the Centennial Trail to raise money for suicide prevention.

Quarterback Tanner Jellison runs a play with running backs Jay Roughton, left, and Trayce Hanks as the Lake Stevens High School football team conducts its first practice, marking the first day of practice for fall sports in the Wesco division, on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in Lake Stevens, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Wesco high school sports teams’ long layoff finally ends

For the first time in more than 450 days, Wesco fall athletes gathered for official practices.

Everett Silvertips' Jake Christiansen takes a shot on goal during the game on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Silvertips release abbreviated 24-game schedule

Everett will open its season against Spokane at Angel of the Winds Arena on March 20.

Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert passes the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against San Diego in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga’s Kispert finalist for Erving Award

The Edmonds native is among the final five to be the top small forward in college basketball.

A law enforcement officer looks over a damaged vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his manager said. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
L.A. sheriff calls Tiger Woods crash ‘purely an accident’

Deputies saw no evidence the golf star was impaired by drugs or alcohol after Tuesday’s rollover.

Seattle Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto talks about the suspension of second baseman Robinson Cano, before the team's baseball game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Seattle. Cano was suspended 80 games for violating baseball's joint drug agreement. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Mariners doing damage control with players after Mather’s video

GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais say the players involved have every right to be upset.

Arizona Diamondbacks' Travis Snider singles against the Texas Rangers during a spring training baseball game Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Surprise, Ariz. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Community sports roundup: Ex-Jackson star Snider joins Braves

Plus, a former Monroe QB is excelling at Whitworth, the Silvertips sign a former T-bird, and more.