Sexson enjoys respite from boobirds

Sexson enjoys respite from boobirds

ATLANTA -- Richie Sexson, booed lustily at Safeco Field, certainly knows how the fans feel about him in Seattle.

"There are 30,000 or 40,000 who would just as soon see me in the electric chair than playing first base," the struggling Mariners slugger said Friday before the opener of an Interleague series with the Atlanta Braves.

Sexson is glad to be on the road. But that doesn't mean that he wants out of Seattle permanently.

The first baseman said he understands the fans' reaction to him and to the team. He also knows the only way to change the negative vibe is to perform better.

"We're not playing well," Sexson said. "Obviously, nobody is going to be happy with that, especially the fans.

"We deserve everything we get right now. Nobody blames the fans. We haven't played the way we're supposed to play.We're all disappointed. We were extremely excited coming into this year, but it's never come together."

Sexson's season-long struggles have certainly been a part of that. In fact, rumors have circulated that he might be released.

"I really can't worry about that," Sexson said. "There are a lot of other teams. I know I can still play this game. I'm not worried about never playing again."

Sexson, 33, is being paid $14 million this season in the final season of his four-year contract. But he went into the weekend hitting just .220 with nine homers and 23 RBIs.

Still, interim manager Jim Riggleman had Sexson in the lineup at first base and batting fifth in the series opener against the Braves.

"I'm just going to put him out there and hope that it kicks in," Riggleman said about Sexson, who is working on a new batting stance. "He's not done at 33."

At least Sexson won't have to worry about being booed for the next 10 days. The Mariners play the Mets in New York and at San Diego before returning home at Seattle.

"It's good for all of us [to get on the road]," Sexson said. "It's a little tense when we're at home. There is a little bit of a negative feel. But there should be with the way we're playing. ... This is all on us."

Guy Curtright is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.