Results tagged ‘ Tuiososopo ’

Alumni Newsletter Vol. 2

The Brewers lost 9-8 to the Reds on Sunday.

Martin Maldonado (’09) was the only ex-Rattler to get in the game. He went 0-for-1.

Matt Tuiasosopo is willing to play anywhere to make the Mariners Opening Day roster.

This is one family battle where Matt Tuiasosopo has no intention of keeping the details in-house.

In fact, the Mariners infielder has made it a point to ensure that on-field showdowns between him and his future brother-in-law, pitcher Micah Owings of the Arizona Diamondbacks, don’t get mentioned at the spring training home they’ve rented together. So, Owings didn’t joke about getting him to fly out to shallow right with a runner on third Friday afternoon and Tuiasosopo has kept quiet about hitting a homer and single off the D-backs reliever during a Class AAA game in 2008.

The pair didn’t know each other that first time around, but, a year later in 2009, Tuiasosopo began dating Owings’ sister, Abi. They got engaged in December, meaning, in many ways, that Tuiasosopo’s off-field life has become far more stable than what he’s living on the field.

“If you look, I’ve played third base, then second base, then left field and now I’m at first base,” Tuiasosopo, hitting .292 this spring, said with a chuckle on Saturday. “I just go where they need me to play. That’s what they need me to do if I want to make the team, so I’ve just got to do it.”

Tuiasosopo was recently asked by the Mariners to shift his concentration away from third base and focus on first base and left field. To some, that was a sign that Tuiasosopo, a bit of a surprising opening-day member the past two seasons, was in danger of having that streak end this year.

In reality, Tuiasosopo’s chances of making the team have probably increased with the developments in left field. Milton Bradley stands a good chance of being the opening-day left fielder, meaning the team could send Michael Saunders to Class AAA to ensure he continues to get daily playing time.
His play has been so dazzling at times this spring that the lone question surrounding him has been not if he will make it to the big leagues, but when, and will it be April 1 of this season.

The ease in which Lawrie has settled into third has been one of the more pleasant developments of the spring for the Jays.

“He sure has,” Tony LaCava, the Jays assistant general manager and vice-president of baseball operations replied when asked if Lawrie is surprising people with how well he is adapting to the new position. “He’s showed the ability to make the above-average play, which is interesting. That gives him a chance to be better than average.

“An average fielder should make average plays. The work will come with him when he has to make the routine plays, when he gets to make all of them and makes them regularly and becomes consistent with that. He has also shown the ability to make the above-average play which is really exciting. So, he’s exceeding our expectations defensively so far.”

How so?

“He’s doing some things at third base that some guys never ever do,” LaCava said. “Some times when he’s deep and gets an in-between hop, he knows to play through it instead of laying back and getting eaten up. He’s aggressive by nature and at times that’s how you have to play third base. It’s a reactive position and I think he has the skill sets to do it.”

For his part, Lawrie said his goals for the spring were to get to befriend his new teammates, get established and have some fun.

“It’s just been an opportunity for me to open up some eyes,” he said. “The more you get to know your teammates the easier it is to play because your surroundings are so much better. That’s been the thing for me here, just go out and have some fun and play the game like I’ve always played it.”

Comment bait

I’ve been stuck on 28 comments for too long.  This story will get the comment count up to 29 inside of 2 hours.

Matt Tuiasosopo might face his last chance with Mariners

I should just leave that headline out there, but that would be cruel.

One of the biggest attributes Matt Tuiasosopo has provided the Mariners the last two years is versatility. He played at six different positions for Seattle in 2010.

But in what looms as a potential make-or-break season for the player who was the team’s top pick in the 2004 draft (in the third round), the Mariners have asked Tuiasosopo to focus for the rest of the spring on left field and first base.

Tuiasosopo said he was informed of the new plan in a recent meeting with manager Eric Wedge.

“They just talked to me the other day and told me that they wanted me to concentrate on those two positions,” he said.

Tuiasosopo said he will still take a few balls at third base, but that the goal now is to get “more confident and comfortable over there in covering those two positions.”

Tuiasosopo, younger brother of former UW football players Marques and Zach Tuiasosopo, has been a standout of the past two Mariners spring trainings but has struggled to translate that success to the regular season. He has a .176 average in 71 career games — .173 in 50 games and 127 at-bats last season.

With the team again starting over, under Wedge, and the Mariners not seeming to lack for veteran options to fill the utility player role, many observers have surmised this might be Tuiasosopo’s last chance to make a mark.

He has one option left on his contract, meaning he can be sent down to Tacoma and brought back up to the big club. But if the option is used, then he has no more contract flexibility with the Mariners beyond 2011 (meaning he couldn’t be sent down without being exposed to other teams).
%d bloggers like this: