SAN DIEGO -- While most American League managers have their pitchers take batting practice a few days before Interleague road games, Mariners skipper Lloyd McClendon has nixed that exercise this year and limited his hurlers to bunting practice in the batting cages.
The Mariners are playing their second Interleague road series of the season with a two-game set at Petco Park, with Felix Hernandez on the hill Wednesday and Erasmo Ramirez on Thursday. Hernandez, Chris Young and veteran reliever Joe Beimel are the only current Mariners pitchers ever to record a Major League hit, as the combined group of Seattle throwers owns a .148 career batting average (43-for-290), a mark helped by Beimel's .222 (10-for-45).
McClendon, a longtime hitting coach for the Tigers, doesn't see the point of having pitchers taking hacks in batting practice and risking injuries in sessions that often turn into informal home run derbies as the participants attempt to see who can launch one over the fence.
"It's not going to help," McClendon said. "I've found, and it's amazing with pitchers, they do better when they don't think about hitting and they just go in there and hack. A lot of times they make it look easy. I try to pass it on to hitters sometimes. Stop thinking. Just see the ball and whack it. Go back to your Little League days when you didn't think about things. Most pitchers are successful when they do that."
But he has no desire for Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and others to go out and swing for the fences in extended BP sessions.
"To me, the risk is not worth the reward," he said. "They're going to hit maybe two or three times a year. It makes no sense."