"I started cranking it back up and I feel great," he said. "I'm 100 percent ready to go. I have that mental passion and the fire burning in my heart to come back and have an impact on the team."His interest increased when the Mariners hired Don Wakamatsu, an A's coach last season, as the manager. "That put Seattle as my No. 1 team," Sweeney said. "I wanted to play for him. In my 18 years of professional baseball, Don, as far as baseball men, is among the top two or three I've ever met. He's a leader, he's intelligent, he communicates well and he's a brilliant student of the game. I admired him from the first day I met him in Oakland last year." Sweeney said he would report to camp in Peoria, Ariz., on Feb. 13, along with pitchers, catchers and position players that were injured last season. A Sweeney-Mariners marriage would seem to have potential. His leadership qualities, which date to his halcyon days with the Royals, would come in handy, as would his bat, which has produced a .299 career batting average, 199 home runs and 849 RBIs in 1,324 games. "We wouldn't have signed Mike if we didn't think he could still play," Wakamatsu said. "He is a quality, quality person and one thing that was so good about last year was his patience at the plate. I don't think he struck out in his first 100 at-bats. "He gives us some options at first base, designated hitter, and would be a right-handed bat off the bench."
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.