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MLB BOOTLEG: Does Junior want back to Seattle?

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Junior Misses Coffee, Rain, Grunge
(Seattle Post-Intelligencer) Laura Vecsey of the 'Attle P-I loads up the first scorched-earth rumor of the young season. The goods? Ken Griffey Jr. may be on his way back to Seattle. Junior, who's sidelined for at least the next three weeks with a knee injury, is said to be hankering for a return to the M's. On its surface, this really isn't surprising. In Cincy, Junior's been about as happy as Sylvia Plath with a hangover. Since his ballyhooed return to the Queen City, Griffey's been hurt more than ever, failed to play up to his lofty standards, toiled for a suckfest ballclub and listen to departing Reds players dis him in the press, all the while watching Seattle's fortunes rise. And has anyone else undergone such a rapid public transformation? Almost overnight, Junior went from being baseball's smiling, precocious, happy-as-a-smurf wunderkind to being a dour, aloof jerk. It's little wonder he sees his time as a Mariner as the halcyon days of his baseball career. So now Vecsey, citing "various channels, all reliable and credible," writes that Junior wants the Reds to trade him back to Seattle. According to Vecsey, Griffey was prepared to back off his trade demand two years ago and perhaps sign an extension, but M's CEO Howard Lincoln insisted on carrying forward with the deal. And even before his latest injury, "friends of Griffey" and the Mariners were having cursory discussions about his return. Such a deal would allow Griffey to get the hell away from Jim Bowden and would give the Reds a free pass on all the deferred jack that's headed Junior's way. If Griffey's willing to take left-field detail in Seattle, and Vecsey says he is, you're talking about perhaps the best defensive outfield ever. If he can rediscover his durability, his power and patience would of course be a tremendous boon to an already lethal M's lineup. But would Pat Gillick have the stones for such a move? Probably so. The M's are a high-payroll team now (take note, folks, success breeds high payrolls, and not the other way around), and given Junior's relatively modest price-tag, why the heck not? In Seattle and environs, there's still a good bit of acrimony toward Junior, but if he busts out the prodigal act, everyone will get over it soon enough. Or if that doesn't work, he could resort to other measures to curry favor. So rather than continuing to have visions of Junior slouching around the Reds clubhouse with Morrissey on the walkman and sniffing about being misunderstood, wouldn't we rather have the old version back? Don't get me wrong, unhappy people have tremendous entertainment value if their malaise leads them to say witty things or consistently freak out. But Junior does neither. So he might as well get happy in Seattle. Distillery
Vladimir Nunez is the Marlins' new closer. Plan your day accordingly ... White Sox righty Jon Rauch is scheduled to make his first start next Tuesday against the Tribe ... Russ Johnson should be in the lineup for Tampa Bay when he comes off the DL on Friday ... Justin Miller could be in line to replace Brian Cooper in the Jays' rotation ... The Rangers have sent right-hander Francisco Cordero down to AAA and called up Chris Michalak in his place ... Jermaine Dye will further test his leg today by sliding. He hopes to return to the A's lineup by the weekend-after-next ... Michael Coleman could come off the DL and join the Sox early next week ... Esteban Loiaza could rejoin the Jays by the first or second week in May ... Might the Yankees' Nick Johnson make a run at Don Baylor's AL record for hit-by-pitches in a season? Baylor logged 35 in 1986, and Johnson already has five this season ... BoSox right-hander John Burkett will make a AA rehab start this Sunday, and, if all goes well, he could make his Boston debut the following weekend ... Cubs manager Don Baylor says you can expect to see Mark Prior in Chicago "soon" ... Albie Lopez hits the DL for the Braves ... Marty Cordova will come off the DL on Friday and begin making the Orioles look like fools. But how hard is that? ... The Palm Beach Post reports that MLB will soon dispatch a "stadium consultant" (translation: thief) to SoFla to join the Marlins' chorus of whining, in the hopes that he can help the Fish dupe taxpayers into paying for most of the project. Or, failing that, they can do what Seligula did in Milwaukee: Ignore the resounding defeat at the polls and take the stadium issue straight to the State Legislature. After all, it's clearly incumbent upon taxpayers to provide a private enterprise with a place of business, particularly one like a baseball stadium, which provides not net economic benefit to the community ... Mets SS Rey Ordonez is suffering some wrist pain. Mets fans secretly hope it's rather serious ... Sanity from the Philly Daily News. If you build a new stadium and your team still sucks, the fans won't come, no matter how many hot tubs and kids zones you have. If you have a good club, fans will turn up no matter what kind of dump you play in. If you're the Cubs and you mastered the whole suck-chic thing, they'll buy tickets with astonishing zeal regardless of team performance. That's what the whole build-us-a-stadium crowd doesn't tell you ... Giants SS Rich Aurilia will miss the upcoming series against the Dodgers, and maybe more. The team hasn't yet decided whether his strained left groin will land him on the DL ...
Tagged: Orioles, White Sox, Mariners, Rangers, Braves, Cubs, Reds, Mets, Giants

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