Notes: Beltre counted on for leadership
Mariners third baseman a mentor to Betancourt and Lopez
SEATTLE -- Now that the Seattle Mariners' double-play combination -- shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and second baseman Jose Lopez -- is secure and under long-term contracts, the expectations on both players have been raised.This is where third baseman Adrian Beltre comes in. "Nowadays, sometimes when young guys like that come up real quick and have that talent, they don't realize what they need to do," said Beltre, who as the Latino elder statesman on the club, has their respect and attention. "They're good kids. I don't have to say much to them, just keep them in line. "They have really good work habits. Lopez is the type of guy you tell him something and he won't even think about it. He'll just do it. He'll soak it in and work hard. And Yuni is just so full of talent." Lopez signed a new four-year contract before Wednesday's game taking him to 2010. He also has a club option for 2011. Two weeks ago, Betancourt signed a three-year extension that takes him to 2011 with a club option for 2012. In announcing the deal, general manager Bill Bavasi said that the club is fortunate to have a player of Beltre's stature to make sure the young players grow and develop properly. "Beltre is all about playing hard and playing the game right," Bavasi said. "So he comes down on these guys a little bit. I think we got that out of Adrian." Beltre also knows where these guys came from. He was just like them at one time, as a poor kid in the Dominican with Major League dreams. Now that they are signed, will the contracts allow these kids to relax and concentrate more of the game? "In a way it does, especially the Latino guys," Beltre said. "We come from a Latin country, and sometimes we think too much and try too hard because we want to take care of our family. Sometimes that takes away from using your talent and just playing. Now they can just play and relax knowing that they have taken care of their family. "The club is taking care of them now," he added, "and later on, they're going to be good for them and stay here longer." Manager Mike Hargrove added that it stands to reason that Lopez's contract will give him the opportunity to concentrate on getting better. "It's got to give him some piece of mind, knowing what his salary is going to be and that he's going to be here a number of years," Hargrove said. "It also says we believe in him and his abilities and he's part of things now and why we think he's going to get better. "Everybody in the clubhouse was really happy for those kids when that happened. I don't know anyone who doesn't appreciate displays of loyalty." Weaver vs. Weaver: It doesn't look like it's going to happen on Sunday, but at some point, the Weaver brothers are going to face off against each other. Jeff Weaver will start for the Mariners on Sunday in Anaheim against the Angels. His brother, Jered, six years younger, came off the disabled list on Tuesday to start and was in line to start again on Sunday. But with an off-day on Thursday and Bartolo Colon also coming off the disabled list, the Angels decided to start Colon on Sunday. Jered will be pushed back to Monday. "It would be exciting, something special, I'm sure," Jeff said. "It would be something to look back on. At the same time, you are facing the lineup. You're not facing him. It would be quite surreal, I'm sure, but you can't really think about it." This is not a good time for the distraction of a brother matchup, with Jeff struggling in his first two starts (0-2, 15.75 ERA).
"You take it all with a grain of salt. It's something to talk about. It's no more pressure or overbearing with that circumstance of facing my brother," Jeff said. "It's what comes with having two brothers in the league together, same division."That's why it's almost inevitable that the two will face each other. They are both in the American League West, and the teams play each other 19 times this season. Mariners' log: Ichiro Suzuki has something in common with Hargrove. Both are among 54 players in history to have hit leadoff home runs in back-to-back games. Ichiro did it on Sunday and Tuesday this week, while Hargrove did it on Aug. 13-14, 1977, while playing for Texas. ... The first left-hander the Mariners face this season will be two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana on Thursday. On deck: The Mariners end their series and homestand on Thursday with an afternoon game against the Twins. Lefty Jarrod Washburn (0-1, 3.75) will face Santana (2-1, 3.60) in a 3:35 PT contest at Safeco Field.
Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.