Notes: Mariners' Vidro to seek out hints
Edgar Martinez will be available to team's newest DH
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jose Vidro is smart enough to realize that the conversion from being a position player to a full-time designated hitter for the first time will take some getting used to.
Luckily for Vidro, he will be able to pick the brain of one of the best designated hitters to ever play the game -- former Mariner Edgar Martinez.
The Mariners confirmed Monday that Martinez will be in Peoria on Feb. 24-26 as an special guest coach to not only speak with Vidro but to work with other hitters.
Vidro, who arrived at the Peoria Sports Complex on Monday, said that he is planning on tracking down Martinez for a conversation -- not so much about hitting, but more about the mental approach that goes into being a designated hitter.
"I'm going to ask him what's the best way to prepare yourself," said Vidro, who arrived in Peoria in time for physicals for positions players. The Mariners' first full-squad workout is set for Tuesday.
Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said he doesn't "anticipate this being a difficult thing for [Vidro] to adjust to." That Vidro happens to be a career .301 hitter certainly helps to put Hargrove's mind at ease.
That said, he thinks having Martinez -- who holds essentially all of the club's career hitting records -- can't hurt.
"You can't put a price tag on that," Hargrove said. "It's something Jose is going to have to find that works for him. He's been a good hitter for a number of years. The cream of the crop always rises to the top."
Vidro said that his left hamstring, which cost him more than a month last season when he was with Washington, is fine. The Mariners have outlined a number of training exercises to keep him on the field and out of the training room, which is where he spent a portion of the last two seasons in Washington.
"I have confidence in myself," Vidro said. "If I stay healthy, I know I can produce. I have to get my body ready for 162 games. If that happens, my numbers will be there."
Planning ahead: A year after watching the Mariners struggle offensively in April at home, second-year hitting coach Jeff Pentland said the Mariners have to look for ways to manufacture runs early on at Safeco Field.
"Safeco Field has some built-in problems in April," said Pentland, noting how the damp and cold weather aren't real conducive to offense, as is a larger-than-most stadium. "We have got to break through those things and make the players understand that you're not going to score eight, nine runs there in April."
Last season, the Mariners were 6-10 at home in the season's opening month. They averaged 3.8 runs a game and were shut out three times, scoring four or fewer runs in four of those 16 games.
This season, Seattle will play 12 games at home in April, six against American League West Division foes. Pentland said the team has to be better about looking for other ways to manufacture runs.
Really, Pentland said, that message holds true for the other months of the season as well.
"We need to do the little things it takes to win the 4-3 ballgames," he said. "We weren't very good about that last year."
That likely equates to more emphasis on situational hitting and encouraging hitters to work into deeper pitch counts.
Pentland was encouraged by the offensive execution in the second half, especially the final six weeks of the season. In the month of September alone, the Mariners reached season-highs in average (.291), runs (153), hits (.310) and on-base percentage (.347).
"The last six weeks I thought we were as good a hitting team from all standpoints," he said. "That goes for getting on base, getting in better counts. Everything."
Mariners log: While Seattle won't play its first exhibition game until March 1, their annual charity game against the Padres, the Mariners already have scheduled two intrasquad games next week. There will be a four-inning game on Feb. 27 at 9:30 a.m., and a six-inning game Feb. 28 on the practice fields at the Peoria Sports Complex. ... Wondering about those funny Mariners commercials? A television crew will be here starting Wednesday for three days. No word yet as to who will be involved. ... Starting pitcher Miguel Batista turned 36 on Monday, a fact that might have remained quiet if not for the bundle of birthday balloons that someone attached to his clubhouse locker. ... Monday's workouts were cut short when heavy rain fell in Peoria toward the end of the morning workouts, keeping anyone from taking batting practice outside. The hitting drills resumed in the covered hitting facility shortly thereafter. ... Ichiro Suzuki, who is entering the final year of his contract, was scheduled to arrive for his physical at 4:15 p.m. on Monday.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.