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04/01/10 4:19 PM ET
Sweeney likely has roster spot locked up
Veteran DH appears set to break camp with Mariners
By Jim Street / MLB.com
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Against all odds, Mike Sweeney has all but officially landed a spot on the Mariners' 25-man Opening Day roster. "Nothing is official until Sunday, but it looks pretty good," the 36-year-old said on Thursday morning. "Coming in with really zero chance of making the team, and here we are three days before the roster is set, my chances look increasingly better." A .543 batting average (19-for-35) would tend to secure a place on any roster. That's what Sweeney was hitting after his lone at-bat in the Mariners' final Spring Training game in Arizona on Thursday. "Statistically, I think it's the best camp I ever had," the 15-year veteran said. "But as far as the preparation, it was the same. The work I put in [during the offseason] was intense. No breaks, but it was worth it." Sweeney returned to his Rancho Bernardo, Calif., home on Tuesday (a day off) and told his wife and three kids that it appeared that his career would continue for at least one more year. "They are all for me," he said. "In fact, last fall I asked my kids what team did they want me to play for [in 2010] and they said, 'The Seattle Mariners.' I told them I would try my best." The family had dinner together on Tuesday night. "I told them, 'Daddy went to Spring Training and was told he probably wouldn't make the team,'" he recalled. "But there are two things I always tell the kids. I asked [6-year-old] Michael, 'What do Sweeneys never do?' He said, 'Sweeneys never quit, Dad.' And [4-year-old] McKara said, 'Sweeneys never lie.'" The Mariners' DH said this spring has been a life's lesson. "The odds were not in Daddy's favor, but Daddy never quit," he said. "I told my kids that if someone ever throws something at you or tells you that you are not going to make it, don't ever listen to that. Don't ever quit." While Sweeney's hot spring worked out on the field, it causes a bit of a dilemma off it. His 24-year-old brother, Tim, is getting married on May 8, and Mike will not be able to attend. The Mariners will be playing the Angels that day at Safeco Field. "I called him the other day and told him I had a good chance of making the team, but I would quit if he wanted me at his wedding," Sweeney said. "He told me not to do that and, 'Your presence will still be there.'"
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.