Opponent: Kansas City Royals
When: 1:05 p.m.
Where: Safeco Field
TV: KSTW (Ch. 11)
Radio: KOMO (1000 AM)
Pitchers: Seattle right-hander Gil Meche (4-4, 4.87 earned run average) vs. left-hander Mark Redman (0-4, 6.88).
Sweet, and sour, swings at Safeco
The Mariners’ pitchers pulled on the batting gloves for the first time and took their hacks Saturday to prepare for at-bats they’ll get in interleague road games later this month.
While it may not have been a pretty session of batting practice, it was amusing.
“I get a kick out of it because they’re so bad at it,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “But they’re all bad, so the level of badness is the same and that makes them fairly competitive. When one of them hits one out, they think they should be in the lineup.”
The guys strutting most Saturday were Gil Meche, J.J. Putz, Felix Hernandez and Eddie Guardado, who each hit balls into the second deck in left field.
Hernandez has batted in a game only once since high school, in spring training three months ago when the Giants’ Jason Schmidt showed him what a major league slider looks like from the other side and struck him out.
Guardado has one at-bat in the majors, two years ago at Milwaukee when former manager Bob Melvin asked him to bunt after Ichiro Suzuki reached first base ahead of him. Guardado remembers it a little too vividly.
“I told him, ‘Bo-Mel, I’ve got too much pop to be bunting,’ ” Guardado said.
He pushed a crisp one-hopper to third to start a double play.
“When I got back to the dugout, I said, ‘Bo-Mel, I told you I’ve got too much pop to be bunting,’ ” Guardado said.
Besides considerable work on bunting before their impromptu home-run derby, the best thing about the first batting practice Saturday was that nobody got hurt.
“I cringe every time they do that,” trainer Rick Griffin said. “Some of those guys will have sore backs tomorrow.”
Hargrove cringed a little, too.
“They’re using muscles they haven’t used,” he said. “You worry about an oblique strain or getting a finger mashed trying to bunt. Most of the time, American League pitchers aren’t proficient at this because they don’t work at it a lot.”
The pitchers will take batting practice Monday and Wednesday this week, plus daily work in the cages near their clubhouse.
Game for the ages: Jamie Moyer’s 4-0 victory over the Royals on Friday made him the oldest pitcher, at age 43, to throw a complete-game shutout since Charlie Hough in 1994. Moyer is the oldest to do it while allowing two or fewer hits since Nolan Ryan pitched his final no-hitter at age 44 in 1991.
Of note: Designated hitter Carl Everett, who turned 35 Saturday, may get few, if any, starts during the Mariners’ nine interleague road games at Los Angeles, San Diego and Arizona. Asked how he would use Everett, Hargrove said, “I don’t know that he will be used.” … Joe Pennington and Scott Kalma of Class 2A state high school baseball champion Granite Falls participated in the pregame first-pitch ceremony Saturday. … The Royals have juggled their pitching and will start left-hander Mark Redman today and right-hander Mike Wood on Monday. Right-hander Denny Bautista, originally scheduled to start today, was moved to the bullpen to take Wood’s spot.
Kirby Arnold, Herald Writer