09/30/07 5:31 PM ET
Notes: McLaren to raise pitch counts?
Rowland-Smith entertains Aussies; waiting game for coaches
By Jim Street / MLB.com
"I don't think we'll ever see anyone get up to 150 pitches," he said. "Maybe once in a blue moon, but not in my lifetime, anyway."McLaren grew up in Houston and watched Nolan Ryan throw upwards of 170 pitches a game.
"So I guess I'm spoiled," McLaren said. "I know he was special, just like Roger [Clemens], but we program these guys to throw 100 pitches. We used to come out of Spring Training wondering about whether it was best to go with a nine-man or 10-man pitching staff and now it's 12 or 13. That's where the game has changed the most."We need to re-evaluate our thinking and get our pitchers thinking about going deeper in the game." Trivia challenge: Adrian Beltre went into the regular-season finale with 99 RBIs. Only one third baseman in franchise history has driven in at least 100 runs in a season. Who is it? G'day, mates: Left-handed reliever Ryan Rowland-Smith entertained the Australian National Junior team before and after Saturday night's game. The Aussie team from Queensland was in Vancouver, British Columbia, for a tournament. "I received an e-mail from the coach a couple of weeks ago," Rowland-Smith said. "He said the team was coming down to watch a Mariners game and wondered if I could talk to them. There were about 20 kids, 16 to 17 years old, and I spent about an hour with them after batting practice." One of the coaches of the team happened to be in attendance and Rowland-Smith got in a good-natured jab. "He was one of the coaches on the team I was trying to make as a 17-year-old and he cut me," the lefty said. "I sort of threw him under the bus and told the kids about it." Rowland-Smith said that coach actually "is a good guy" and it was the head coach of the team that cut him. "He didn't like me and I heard that he told people I was lazy," Rowland-Smith said. "I always used that as incentive to get where I am." Rowland-Smith fielded some questions from the teenagers, who wondered what the clubhouse was like and several about Ichiro Suzuki.
"Some of these guys are pretty close to signing contracts, so they asked me what the Minor Leagues are like," Rowland-Smith said.After the game, Rowland-Smith talked with security guards and the grounds crew for permission to take the Aussie players onto the field. "That was cool," he said.
Waiting game: The coaching staff planned to go in different directions after Sunday's game, not yet knowing if they would meet up again in Spring Training."I know they are walking on [eggshells], but we need to step back a little bit," McLaren said. "I have been there, done that, and it's not a good feeling. I apologized to them." McLaren said general manager Bill Bavasi would be going to Arizona later this week and the coaching staff decisions could be made by the weekend. Expect some changes to be made. The answer is: Jim Presley is the lone man of the hot corner to drive in 100 or more runs in a season, plating 107 in 1986.
Take a break: A season that first baseman Richie Sexson can't erase from his mind soon enough finally ended on Sunday.His final numbers: .205 batting average, 21 home runs and 63 RBIs. "Richie needs to go home, recharge his battery, clear his head and get on a good winter program," McLaren said. "Everyone is entitled to a bad year, but now it's over with and he can go home, have a nice offseason and get ready for '08." McLaren said he's considering giving Sexson more at-bats than usual during Spring Training if that's what it takes to get him back to normal, even if those extra at-bats are in Minor League games during camp.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.