Bloomquist unlikely to play again in '08
Free-agent-to-be would like to return to Mariners next season
SEATTLE -- Willie Bloomquist walked into the home clubhouse at Safeco Field on Saturday afternoon with a noticeable limp.It has been two weeks since the Mariners all-purpose performer strained his right hamstring while running to first base during an extra-inning game against the Rays. He limped off the field that night, kicking himself for not executing one of the two sacrifice bunt attempts he tried. "I wish I had gotten the bunt down," he said. "If I had, we might not be having this conversation." The past two weeks have been spent treating the first-degree strain and as much as he would like to come off the disabled list and get into a game before the season ends on Sept. 28, there appears to be a better chance that he has played his final game of the season -- and possibly his last one with the Mariners. "There is a possibility it could have been," said Bloomquist, who becomes eligible for free agency at the end of the season. "I would hate to go out on this note, but there's a lot of time between now and then." He said a lot of factors will go into making a final decision, including getting input from his family and talking to the Mariners. "I like Seattle. I like the city; I like this organization," he said. "But there are things about the National League that I like, too. I don't think it will be a very easy decision. Hopefully it will be a clear decision, but we'll just have to wait and see what happens. First of all, I have to see if they want me back here. "They have kind of hinted that we can talk a little bit." The Kitsap County native and graduate of South Kitsap High in Port Orchard in 1996, Bloomquist attended Arizona State University for three seasons and was selected by Seattle in the third round of the 1999 First-Year Player Draft. It took fewer than four Minor League seasons for him to reach the big leagues, and he's been a roster mainstay the past four seasons, developing into one of the most versatile players in the Major Leagues. Bloomquist has played every position except pitcher and catcher. Bloomquist got off to a slow start with sporadic play, batting .167 in April and .174 in May. But his workload increased in June, and he responded with a .319 batting average and improved to .323 in July. Bloomquist tailed off a bit in August, going 4-for-16 before suffering the hamstring injury on Aug. 9, and was batting .270 with nine RBIs. Bloomquist was placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day and has been undergoing treatment ever since, trying to get healthy again. "I've been doing a lot of [swimming] pool work, ice, and I just started an easy bicycle workout," he said. "There still is some pain -- not severe pain. If I do anything that's not in a low gear, it lets you know it's still there." Bloomquist says that as much as it hurts to be sidelined, "Believe it or not I am trying to be smart about it," and make sure the leg is completely healthy before testing it out. "Personally, I would like to play again [this season], but given the situation we're in, there is no sense in taking a chance of reinjuring," he said. "If it's in the cards, I'll do it. I'm pushing for that, but I have to definitely be 100 percent healthy, with no question marks. "All I can do is bust my butt to try to get to that point. Hopefully I can, but if I can't, it's not the end of the world."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.