Results tagged ‘ Brendan Ryan ’
Brendan Ryan won the Mariners starting shortstop job, manager Eric Wedge announced Tuesday. (Photo by Greg Johns/MLB.com).
Manager Eric Wedge made his decision today on the Mariners middle infield situation and it came with something of a surprise: Brendan Ryan will be the everyday shortstop, with Jack Wilson at second base for the first time in his career.
Wilson has been splitting time with Ryan at second this spring, but will take the bulk of the work on the right side of the infield from now on.
Ryan, obtained by trade from the Cardinals over the offseason, is regarded as one of the game’s premier defensive shortstops and is five years younger than Wilson, 33.
Wedge said part of the equation remains untold until the utility infield spot is finalized, which likely means non-roster invitee Adam Kennedy will fit into the picture as well. But for now, the skipper was willing only to finalize the Ryan-Wilson situation.
“We could have gone either way with it because we’re comfortable with both guys on both sides of the bag, but we felt this is the best combo,” he said.
Ryan hasn’t hit particularly well this spring, though his .152 average is a little misleading since he’s hit the ball hard at people numerous times. But he’s impressed the Mariners with his shortstop play.
“I was just wide open with my view of him,” Wedge said. “And he’s been everything and then some. I think with regard to Jack, he’s been fantastic with the way he’s gone about his business at second base and shortstop, with his offensive side of things and the way he’s run the bases. he’s had a lot to offer this spring.”
Wedge said keeping Wilson healthy was a small part of the decision as well, with second base a little less demanding than shortstop. Left unsaid was the fact second base could change in the near future when the club brings Dustin Ackley into the picture.
As for how Ackley fits in, Wedge said he wouldn’t speak on that topic at this point. Ackley presumably will start the season in Tacoma, but he is obviously a key piece in the future as the organization’s top position prospect.
He did say catcher Miguel Olivo will catch three innings tomorrow in a Minor League game and is on schedule to break camp with the team if all goes well.
One of the questions hanging over the Mariners this spring has been who’ll be the starting shortstop and manager Eric Wedge appears to have answered that question Tuesday with newcomer Brendan Ryan getting the start today in a late-posted lineup to face the White Sox in a 1:05 p.m. start in Peoria.
Wedge has said he’d have a decision on the shortstop battle soon and the obvious clue came with the appearance of Ryan today in that spot, with reporters told we’ll be able to talk to Wedge before today’s morning workout instead of only after the afternoon game as has been his custom this spring.
Jack Wilson, who has played shortstop throughout his 10-year Major League career, will work at second base today and it’ll be interesting to hear what Wedge has to say about all this shortly.
Here’s today’s full lineup:
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chone Figgins 3B
Milton Bradley LF
Jack Cust DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Brendan Ryan SS
Michael Saunders CF
Jack Wilson 2B
Adam Moore C
Felix Hernandez RHP
Sunday’s proclamation by manager Eric Wedge that Brendan Ryan will be working primarily at shortstop this spring in an open competition with Jack Wilson should come as no huge surprise, given the Mariners traded for the former St. Louis defensive standout to provide some depth there.
More surprising was Wedge saying Wilson would be working some at second base, given Wilson has played 1,219 games in his 10-year career … and all have been at shortstop.
Wilson pulled a new second baseman’s glove out of his locker Sunday and said he’s working her in. And, yeah, he said his gloves are always a “her,” though he doesn’t name them.
Wilson didn’t sound thrilled about being asked to try a new position, but he’s a class act and a team guy and if he gets beat out by a better player, he understands. He also gets why the Mariners aren’t just handing him the shortstop job, given his injury struggles since his arrival a year and a half ago from Pittsburgh.
But Wilson also says he’s feeling healthier than he has in a long while and he’s lost a noticeable 15 pounds, which he thinks will help his hamstrings as well. So this one will be interesting to watch this spring. When healthy, Wilson is a very good shortstop, even if Mariners fans haven’t seen much of that guy yet.
Wedge told Wilson he wanted him to take some reps at second just to provide more options, though he said it would be “a reach” at this point to envision Ryan at short and Wilson at second on a regular basis.
“I told him I’m not sure how it’s going to play out,” Wedge said. “I want to take a good look at the Ryan kid. Both of those guys are going to be somewhere and whatever is best for our ballclub is what we’re going to do.”
Adam Kennedy figures prominently in the plans and if the veteran hits well this spring, it’s not hard to see him being the Opening Day second baseman and holder of that position until Dustin Ackley’s eventual promotion. Unless Ackley makes the team out of camp, of course.
Wedge said Kennedy will work at second, first and third, in that order, and noted he played 51 games at first base last season for the Nationals. Most of that was as a late-inning defensive replacement, as he started just four times at first. But he could easily provide backup to Justin Smoak.
Ryan, meanwhile, will also get some work as third in order to provide backup to Chone Figgins.
Figgins, of course, got the shot at second base last year and his transition didn’t go as smoothly as hoped. Which is why he’s back at third now. Could Wilson handle the switch to a spot he hasn’t played since his freshman year in college in ’97?
“I’ve played around over there. It’s kind of fun and different,” he said. “But if it came down to switching, there would be a lot of work to learn that. It depends on the time frame they have if it becomes a reality. But it’s one of those things they’re asking you to go out and try. And you’ve got to do what your team asks.”
(Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jack Zduriencik pulled off a trade on Sunday, dealing minor-league pitching prospect Maikel Cleto to the St. Louis Cardinals for infielder Brendan Ryan, one of the better defensive shortstops in the Major Leagues over the past two years.
No, it’s not a move that answers the Mariners’ offensive problems, but it does provide needed depth for the club in the infield as the Dustin Ackley situation plays out.
Ryan could fill in at second base until Ackley is promoted, then provide help at shortstop where Jack Wilson has been so injury-prone the past two years.
We had a chance to talk to both Zduriencik and Ryan on a conference call after the deal was made and you can read my full story here.
It’s worth noting that Ryan is entering just his first year of arbitration, so he won’t be a free agent until 2014. And at this point, he’s far cheaper — and presumably healthier — than Wilson, who is entering the final season of his $5 million-a-year deal.
Ryan didn’t hit much last year (.223), but was a .292 hitter in 2009 and has the ability to create some things with 25 stolen bases in two years. He and Zduriencik both indicated some of last year’s offensive struggles had to do with a wrist surgery performed just before the start of Spring Training.
Without question, he’s one of the better defensive shortstops in the game and if he can produce offensively somewhere between the high of ’09 and low of ’10, he’ll be a nice addition.
At the least, he’s an upgrade over Josh Wilson at the ultility infield slot. And on the top end of the scale, he would help out temporarily at second base until Ackley’s arrival and eventually replace Wilson at shortstop down the road.
Cleto is a hard-throwing prospect, but at 21 is long way from the big leagues and seems well worth the return on a player who’ll fill a definite need for the Mariners this season and could be part of their building effort going forward.
(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat of Getty Images)