Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wakamatsu Named Mariners Manager

The Seattle Mariners have named Don Wakamatsu as their manager for the 2009 season. Wakamatsu becomes the first Asian-American to become a major league manager. In 2008, Wakamatsu was the bench coach for the Oakland Athletics. He was also a member of the Texas Rangers coaching staff from 2003 to 2006. Wakamatsu was a career minor leaguer who played a handful of games with the Chicago White Sox in 1991 trying to catch Charlie Hough's knuckleball. After his playing career ended Wakamatsu managed in the minor leagues.

The Mariners lost 101 games in 2008. It was their worst showing since 1983. The Mariners fired manager John McLaren in the mid-June and was replaced by Jim Riggleman who fared no better. Wakamatsu is an unknown quantity. But that might not be a bad thing since there is little expected of the Mariners in 2009 as they will stick with largely younger players save Ichiro Suzuki. However, some Mariners fans wanted Chicago White Sox third base coach Joey Cora to get the job. Cora played with the Mariners from 1995 through 1998. He was part of Mariner teams that went to the post-season in 1995 and 1997 and he was a huge fan favorite in Seattle. Cora's younger brother, Alex, plays for the Red Sox. It will be interesting to see how Wakamatsu handles Ichiro who has often butted heads with previous managers and was believed to be the driving force behind Mike Hargrove's sudden resignation in the middle of the 2007 season.

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