Mariner notes

  • By Kirby Arnold / Herald writer
  • Sunday, October 1, 2006 9:00pm
  • Sports

It’s a meeting that could have waited until next year, if at all.

Pitcher Emiliano Fruto had struggled to throw strikes Friday night against the Rangers and it cost the Mariners a victory. Even though the game was meaningless, Fruto found himself in manager Mike Hargrove’s office first thing the next morning.

In the final weekend of a last-place season, Hargrove knows he easily could have let it pass.

He didn’t, partly because a young player needed to know late-inning walks in a close game aren’t acceptable, and partly because he wants to set a tone at the finish of this season that will carry into spring training.

“It’s important to maintain (the attention to detail) all the way through to the last out,” Hargrove said. “That’s the way it’s got to be.”

Hargrove, told late last week that he would return as manager next year, has met with most of the players to discuss expectations of them in the offseason.

“We’ve talked with everybody in the last three or four days, all of them for different reasons,” Hargrove said. “It’s important to sit down with all of them, especially the young ones. Different strokes for different folks.”

Winter work: His job secure for next year, Mariners coach Mike Goff will return home to Peoria, Ariz., this week and try something completely different.

“I’m going to get a job,” he said. “All these years, I’ve never done anything but baseball. But this winter I want to get away and try something different.”

Goff isn’t sure what, although with construction business still booming in Arizona, he may wind up with a hammer in his hand.

“I know some people in construction, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what I wind up doing,” he said.

Goff played nine years of minor league ball in the Boston Red Sox system before a back injury ended his career. He coached three years at the University of South Alabama, then began his career as a minor league coach and manager in 1992.

Goff spent most of his first major league season as the Mariners’ first-base coach, then moved into the dugout after bench coach Ron Hassey was fired early this month.

The remaining Mariners’ coaches – Goff, pitching coach Rafael Chaves, hitting coach Jeff Pentland, third-base coach Carlos Garcia and bullpen coach Jim Slaton – were told last week that they would return in 2007.

Eager to see Junior: Jose Lopez hopes to play a little winter league ball this offseason at home in Venezuela, but mostly he just wants to see his baby boy.

Jose Lopez Jr. was born in July and, after Dad made a weekend trip home just after the birth, he hasn’t seen him since.

“It’s been about two months,” Lopez said. “Two months and 10 days. But who’s counting?”

Not so fast: The Mariners’ clubhouse after Sunday’s game looked like a college dorm emptying out, with players packing equipment and clothing in boxes for shipment to locales as near as their homes in Seattle and as far as Japan.

Michael Spears, a clubhouse assistant, walked through the room with some last-minute instructions, among them, “Guys, leave the nameplates above your lockers.”

Rookie outfielder Adam Jones heard that, then reached down into the bag he had just packed, pulling out his nameplate and sliding it back into the slot above his locker.

“Darn, but these are so cool,” he said.

“Don’t worry, Adam. You’ll be back next year,” Spears said.

Of note: Only from Chris Snelling would you hear this, after he was asked about his offseason plans: “Get married and sit on my butt.” … The Mariners finished 20-24 in one-run decisions this season. … Ichiro Suzuki’s leadoff home run was the 21st of his career and his fourth this season. He finished with 224 hits, leading the major leagues for the third time in his career.

Kirby Arnold, Herald Writer

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