Piniella remembers decade with Mariners
Cubs' skipper conjures fond memories of time in Emerald City
SEATTLE -- The Mariners' series against the Cubs means being reunited with a familiar face: Chicago skipper Lou Piniella, who was at the helm of the Seattle club from 1993 to 2002.
Piniella managed during the Mariners' most successful years, including a 116-win season in 2001, and he was responsible for all four of the franchise's playoff appearances and seven of its 11 winning seasons.
Piniella said he ate lunch with club executives Howard Lincoln, Chuck Armstrong and John Ellis on Tuesday, bringing back memories from his tenure in the Emerald City.
"It's wonderful, a wonderful city," Piniella said. "I had 10 really good years here. Lots of pleasant memories, not only baseball-wise, but friends."
He said he regretted not being able to see Ken Griffey Jr., his former star player who retired this season, and added he planned to call him soon to catch up.
"When I had him here my first five or six years, [Griffey was] absolutely the best player in baseball, in my opinion," Piniella said. "Great hitter, and just as great an outfielder, and he enjoyed playing the game. He was as productive as any player. I thought he and Barry Bonds [were the best]. I choose our guy because he played center field and played it so well."
Both Wilsons get starting nods for Mariners
SEATTLE -- Manager Don Wakamatsu said choosing between Josh Wilson and Jack Wilson at shortstop would be done on a game-by-game matchup basis, and though the matchup favored Jack on Tuesday, both wound up in the lineup.
After being activated from the disabled list on Sunday, Jack Wilson got the start at shortstop against the Cubs in the opener of the three-game series because he has the most experience against Chicago right-hander Ryan Dempster, against whom he's 8-for-28 (.286) with three doubles.
But when second baseman Chone Figgins was a late scratch because of an upset stomach, Josh Wilson took his place. It's the first game this year Figgins has missed.
"It gives us an opportunity to play [Jack Wilson] because he knows [Dempster] so well," Wakamatsu said. "Again, we'll just go down that road. I'm not going to sit Josh all the time. He's been one of our most productive players. For me, it's just getting guys back in playing, and this is the first step with Jack."
Josh Wilson has been successful as a replacement, hitting .289 -- second-best on the team -- in 42 games, while Jack Wilson hit .253 before going on the disabled list.
Wilson always concerned with injuries
SEATTLE -- A very consistent player for most of his career, injuries aren't easy for Jack Wilson to deal with.
After re-aggravating his injured hamstring on a rehab assignment with Double-A West Tennessee in May, Wilson told reporters he was contemplating retirement -- and while he's much happier being back with the big league club, his fears haven't subsided.
"If I can't go out there and play every day, what's the point?" Wilson said. "It's not like anything has changed, you just hope you get lucky and the good Lord looks upon you and helps you keep healthy."
He said that's never on his mind during games, though.
"That's probably why I do get hurt. I have one speed, and a lot of guys play like that," Wilson said. "I'm never going to not try to go for a ball because I'm thinking about a hamstring or some other body part. That's the way I like playing the game, it's how I feel most comfortable, and I'm going to keep playing the same way."
Bradley, Silva on opposite ends of diamond
SEATTLE -- A change of scenery can be all it takes for a player to realize his abilities, and that's what the Mariners and Cubs were hoping for when they swapped Milton Bradley and Carlos Silva before the season.
It certainly panned out for Silva, who is 8-2 with a 3.01 ERA in Chicago after posting a 6.46 ERA in 2008 for Seattle. Bradley, who came to the Mariners in the deal, has hit just .215 with six home runs.
Both Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu and Cubs skipper Lou Piniella said they hope their former players succeed, and Piniella was happy to see Bradley take time off this season for counseling to better himself.
"I'm glad that he's gotten some good help," Piniella said. "I'd like to see Milton do well. He was with us a year in Chicago and did what he could, then he came here to Seattle, and you like to see your ex-players do well. Milton's no exception."
Bradley declined to comment on facing his former squad.
Wakamatsu said he hadn't seen Silva pitch this season, but he had read reports to see what had caused the improvement.
"I think a lot of it is that, especially against left-handers, he's used that changeup a lot," Wakamatsu said. "He's kind of re-invented himself that way, where before he was pitching to contact with his fastball a lot. I think that's where he's found a lot of success this year, using his off-speed, slider and changeup a lot."
Silva was scheduled to face the Mariners on Thursday but will miss the start because of a hamstring injury.
Manager Don Wakamatsu said right-hander Doug Fister, on the disabled list with shoulder fatigue since June 1, will start Saturday against the Brewers. ... Left-hander Erik Bedard threw 2 2/3 innings in a rehab start with the Rookie League Peoria Mariners on Monday. Wakamatsu said Bedard's fastball reached 93 mph and he threw 52 pitches. He'll throw again Saturday (around 70 pitches) and be re-evaluated before making more rehab starts at a higher level.
Mike McCall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.