Bloomquist sad to go, but not ready to retire
Infielder Chris Taylor was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday in time to join the Mariners as they open a four-game series with the A’s, while veteran utility man Willie Bloomquist was designated for assignment to make room on the 25-man roster.
Bloomquist says he’s not ready to retire and hopes a spot opens for him on another Major League club that has more of an opportunity for him to contribute in the final half of the season.
“For me honestly, it’s a mixture of emotions,” Bloomquist said by phone while cleaning out his locker at Safeco Field after flying home Thursday. “I’m doing great. I’m not disappointed or mad at anyone. I’ve been around this game long enough to understand the business side. Sometimes moves have to happen. I get it.
“Obviously I’m tremendously grateful for the Mariners organization. They’re the guys that drafted me and brought me back. I grew up here. I was a Mariners fan and I’ll always be a Mariners fan. To be able to play in the big leagues for 7 ½ years in Seattle, who can say that? It’s been awesome. I’ve loved every minute of it.”
That said, Bloomquist doesn’t want his career to end on a season where he’s hit just .159 with one double and four RBIs in 69 at-bats over 35 games.
“I hate leaving Seattle because I love Seattle,” he said. “But I’m not going out like this. That’s not going to happen. I’ve worked too hard and I cartainly hope to get another shot.”
Bloomquist, 37, missed the last month of 2014 after microfracture knee surgery, but worked hard over the winter to be ready for the start of Spring Training and says health is not an issue.
“I was expecting big things not only from myself, but my team as well,” Bloomquist said. “So to have this happen, it stinks. It’s not fun. I’m hoping there’s another opportunity that will be better than this situation that I’m personally in right now.
“I love to compete. I understand my role, I get all that. But for me to sit and watch and not do what I think I’m capable of doing and have proved I’m capable of doing has been very frustrating. I know I’m hitting .160, but I’m not going to judge myself on 60 at-bats. I know I’m better than that.”
Bloomquist said he’s loved playing for manager Lloyd McClendon, who he calls one of his favorite managers ever. But he wants to play and acknowledged the situation in Seattle – with Robinson Cano at second, Kyle Seager at third, youngsters like Taylor and Brad Miller at short and a big group of outfielders – didn’t leave him much of a spot.
“I still have an extreme fuel and fire in my life,” Bloomquist said. “I’m looking forward to getting to a team that sees a value in me. I know my numbers are awful. They’re downright atrocious. But I also know what I’m capable of doing and hopefully the phone will ring and I’ll get an opportunity.”
Taylor, 24, is rejoining the Mariners for the second time this season. He played 20 games at shortstop earlier this year but put up just a .159/.221/.206 line and was optioned back to Tacoma.
Taylor hit .287 in 47 games with the Mariners as a rookie in 2014 and is regarded as a strong defender. He batted .289 with nine doubles, four triples, two home runs and 16 RBIs in 48 games for Tacoma this year.
Bloomquist is a career .269 hitter in 1,055 Major League games. He signed back with Seattle on a two-year, $5.8 million deal last year and hit .278 in 47 games in 2014 before missing the final month.