17 SEATTLE MARINERS

April 14, 1986

Steve Yeager is a 37-year-old catcher with sequoia legs who thought he was going to finish his career in Los Angeles caddying for Mike Scioscia. Wrong. The Mariners had a bunch of young pitchers looking for guidance, and their catcher. Bob Kearney, was not providing it. So last December, Yeager was moved indoors after wearing Dodger blue for 19 years.

"We wanted Steve for some intangibles," says Dick Balderson, Seattle's new G.M. "Handling young pitchers. The winning background. That kind of thing." Balderson thinks his team is capable of contending, and he thinks Yeager, who will have to hit only .200, can be a significant addition. Yeager even has a chance to become the greatest catcher in Mariner history. Of course, his competition is Bob Stinson, Jim Essian and Kearney.

Balderson and manager Chuck Cottier hope that Yeager can catch 100 games and fill the only hole in their lineup. If he does, and if Mark Langston (elbow) and reliever Karl Best (shoulder) come back as expected, the Mariners can make life difficult for the AL West. Seattle won only 74 times last year, partly because seven pitchers, including staff ace Mike Moore, visited the DL.

"I'm getting a second opportunity to play, and some guys don't even get one chance," says Yeager. "Maybe I can help some of the guys here get over the humps in the season. There ain't too many humps I haven't been over."

The Mariners' regular lineup is not too shabby. Leftfielder Phil Bradley, third baseman Jim Presley and shortstop Spike Owen had productive years in '85. The Mariners expect big numbers from Danny Tartabull, the rookie second baseman who replaces Jack Perconte. Tartabull, son of Jose of '67 Red Sox fame, led all of pro ball with 43 homers last year in Triple A, but he struggled this spring. A broken wrist limited rightfielder Ivan Calderon to 210 at bats last season, but the Mariners think he will hit 20 to 25 homers this time around.

"Ever since I've been here," says Owen, "it's been 'The Mariners. Expansion team. Sixth, seventh place.' Well, you get tired of hearing that. We've got the talent now. It's time to put up or Shut up."

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PLAYER KEY
STATS

P.

THE ELIAS ANALYST:

STEVE YEAGER
.207 in 121 ABs

C

No comment.

ALVIN DAVIS
.287, 18 HRs, 78 RBIs

1B

The 4th player in history to draw 90 or more walks in each of his first two seasons.

DANNY TARTABULL
43 HRs in Triple A

2B

Rookie.

SPIKE OWEN
.259, 37 RBIs, 11 SBs

SS

Finally had his first two-error game in his 332nd game, Sept. 15 vs. Chicago.

JIM PRESLEY
.275, 28 HRs, 84 RBIs

3B

Hit .344 against southpaws surprising in light of .167 average against them in '84.

PHIL BRADLEY
.300, 26 HRs, 88 RBIs

LF

First since Cap Anson to hit 20 or more HRs in the year after a 300-AB season with none.

DAVE HENDERSON
.241, 14 HRs, 68 RBIs

CF

Has a career batting average of .133 (4 for 30) with the bases loaded.

IVAN CALDERON
.286 in 210 ABs

RF

Not enough ABs to qualify, but .488 OBP leading off was higher than Wade Boggs's .468.

GORMAN THOMAS
.215, 32 HRs, 87 RBIs

DH

Lowest career BA (.227) of any active player with at least 100 HRs.

MIKE MOORE
17-10, 3.46 ERA

SP

Has never allowed a homer to the 296 batters he has faced in LIP situations.

MATT YOUNG
12-19, 4.91 ERA

SP

A tough pitcher for both Boggs (0 for 14) and Mattingly (3for15).

MARK LANGSTON
7-14, 5.47 ERA

SP

Led AL pitchers (minimum: 15 starts) in walks per nine innings with 6.47.

MILT WILCOX
1-3, 4.85 ERA

SP

No comment.

EDWIN NUNEZ
16 saves, 3.09 ERA

RP

Set Mariners club record with 24 consecutive shutout innings (June 9-July 9).

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)