It’s not certain if Ken Griffey Jr.(notes) will return to Seattle for his 22nd major league season in 2010, but if it were up to manager Don Wakamatsu, there would be no doubt where he would be playing.
Griffey looks to help the Mariners continue their domination of the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night as the teams continue a three-game set at Safeco Field.
The Athletics (75-82) came into this series having won 11 of 14, but that momentum couldn’t end their season-long troubles against the Mariners (81-76). With a 6-4 loss Tuesday, Oakland dropped to 5-12 against its division rivals and 1-6 in Seattle.
Griffey blew the game open during a five-run fifth with a three-run homer— his 17th of the season and 628th of his career. Trevor Cahill(notes) became the 406th pitcher to give up a long ball to Griffey, who could be playing his final games with Seattle.
“That’s Junior’s decision, that’s (GM) Jack (Zduriencik’s) decision. All I can speak of is my experience with him this year, and it’s been an honor to have a player of that caliber,” said Wakamatsu, who in his first year as manager helped Seattle bounce back from a 101-loss season in 2008.
After a nine-year absence, Griffey re-signed in the offseason with Seattle, the club he played with from 1989-1999.
Though he’s batting only .214 this season, Griffey is hitting .273 with 11 homers at Safeco.
For Oakland, the loss guaranteed a last-place finish in the AL West for the first time since 1998. It rallied in the ninth inning Tuesday as Kurt Suzuki’s(notes) two-run, bases-loaded single halved a four-run deficit. However, Daric Barton(notes) flew out to Ichiro Suzuki(notes) to end the game.
After winning his previous two starts, Mortensen gave up seven runs - three earned - and six hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 9-8 loss to Texas last Wednesday.
The rookie right-hander took the loss on Sept. 4 against Seattle. In the 6-3 defeat, he was tagged for four runs, six hits and three walks over seven innings.
The Mariners will counter with Brandon Morrow(notes) (1-4, 4.96) in the middle game of the series. He gave up two runs and three hits with three walks in five innings of a 5-4 loss to Tampa Bay last Wednesday, but didn’t record a decision.
Morrow is 1-0 with a 5.47 ERA in 16 games with two starts against Oakland. The right-hander has made two relief appearances against the A’s this year, allowing one run and one hit with three walks in three innings and converting one of his six saves.