By KIRBY ARNOLD
Alex Rodriguez has taken his 40-some home runs, his 100-plus runs batted in and his .300-plus batting average to Texas.
Behind those numbers, some of his former teammates say, the Seattle Mariners have lost a player who impressed them just as much with his knowledge of those around him.
Pitcher Paul Abbott recalled a moment last season when he was on the mound and Rodriguez seemed troubled at shortstop.
"I’m in the stretch with a runner on second base, and Alex is over there shaking his head at me," Abbott said.
Abbott stepped off the rubber, called time out, and Rodriguez approached the mound.
"He wanted to know what I was thinking, what I was going to throw and why I was going to throw it," Abbott said. "He wants to know what we’re thinking."
Unlike many players, Rodriguez has always wanted to know the inner thoughts of his teammates.
"He likes to know character," catcher Tom Lampkin said. "A lot of the way pitchers pitch is determined by their character. If you just sit there and let a guy pitch for a season and never talk to him, you don’t know how he likes to think. It’s important for a catcher to find out about his pitchers, but Alex has shown that it’s just as important for the infielders.
"Alex was always talking to me about catching, he’s always talking to the pitchers and he was always talking to John Olerud about hitting. There are so many resources on a team worth taking advantage of, and Alex used them."
Jorge Sosa, that is.
Sosa, an outfielder, was one of three minor-legue players the Mariners selected Monday in baseball’s annual Rule V draft. They also picked pitcher Jason Ellison and infielder Joe Funaro.
Sosa, 22, hit .230 with four home runs and 26 RBI for the Rockies’ Class A Portland franchise.
Ellison, 25, was 1-1 with an 8.68 earned run average and four saves in 10 games with Class AA Norwich in the Yankees organization.
Funaro, 27, batted .282 with 22 runs in 49 games with Class AA Portland, Maine, and Class AAA Calgary in the Marlins’ organization.
The Mariners lost two minor leaguers in the draft, infielder Jermaine Clark to Detroit and left-handed pitcher Denton McDaniel to the White Sox.
In the Rule V draft, players who aren’t on 40-man major league rosters can be selected for a $12,000 fee.
Boeing will contribute $225,000 to the Boeing Mariners Care Athletic Field program over the next three years. Each year, a community will be selected to receive a $75,000 grant to renovate youth fields.
In September, the grant was awarded to Pacific Little League of Lynnwood and Edmonds to improve the complex at Lynndale Park.
Communities that have received grants the past 16 years also include Mukilteo and Stanwood.
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