Seattle Mariners

Blue Jays special assistant interviewing for Mariners’ GM

Seattle’s John Hicks is among four Mariners catchers who have struggled at the plate this season. Heading into Wednesday, Hicks was hitting .043 in 10 games.
Seattle’s John Hicks is among four Mariners catchers who have struggled at the plate this season. Heading into Wednesday, Hicks was hitting .043 in 10 games. The Associated Press

Toronto special assistant Dana Brown interviewed Wednesday with the Seattle Mariners for their vacant general manager job, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

There was no confirmation from the Mariners.

Club president Kevin Mather, who is conducting the search, sent word through club officials that he is unwilling to comment or provide any updates on the process.

Brown is in his sixth season in Toronto as a special assistant to general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Before that, Brown spent eight seasons as director of scouting for the Montreal/Washington franchise.

Previous reports said the Mariners are showing interest in former Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto and have received permission from the Yankees to talk with assistant general manager Billy Eppler.

Several other former general managers, including Kevin Towers, have been linked to the vacancy.

DECLINING PRODUCTION

The gaping offensive hole in the Mariners’ lineup at catcher has only widened since the Aug. 28 decision to send Mike Zunino to the minors and the Fall Instructional League to fix flaws in his swing.

It’s not that Zunino, in his third season, didn’t require fixing.

He was batting .174 through 112 games when he departed, and his numbing .230 on-base percentage still ranks second-worst among all players with at least 150 plate appearances. (Hello, Tampa Bay and former Mariner Rene Rivera!)

But Zunino’s production far surpasses what the Mariners are getting from their catchers in the 18 games, prior to Wednesday, since they sent him on his remedial tour.

The combination of Jesus Sucre, John Hicks and Steven Baron was a combined 6 for 56 — a .107 average — with a .167 on-base percentage since Zunino’s departure.

And further: Where Zunino provided some occasional pop with 11 doubles and 11 homers in compiling a .300 slugging percentage, his three replacements have slugged their way to a .143 percentage.

FELIX’S MULTIPLE QUESTS

Felix Hernandez projects to get three more starts in his bid to achieve several personal milestones:

▪ At 17-9, he needs two victories to match his career high of 19 achieved in 2009. If he wins all three, he would achieve the fourth 20-victory season in franchise history.

Jamie Moyer won 21 games in 2003 and 20 in 2001. Randy Johnson won 20 in 1997.

▪ With 190 innings, Hernandez needs 10 more to reach 200 for an eighth consecutive year. Moyer had seven seasons with 200 or more innings, but they weren’t consecutive.

▪ With 180 strikeouts, Hernandez needs 20 more to reach 200 for a seventh year in a row. Johnson had seven seasons of 200 or more strikeouts, but they weren’t consecutive.

LOOKING BACK

It was 18 years ago — Sept. 17, 1997 — that Edgar Martinez scored his 100th run of the season in a 5-4 loss at Texas.

Doing so enabled Martinez to achieve a third season in a row with at least 100 runs, 100 RBIs and 100 walks. That milestone has only been achieved two other times: Jay Buhner in 1997, and Alex Rodriguez in 2000.

SHORT HOPS

Nelson Cruz’s single in the fourth inning was his 166th hit of the season, which matched his career-high set last season at Baltimore. … Robinson Cano went 1 for 3 and needs seven hits to reach 2,000 for his career and become the 14th player in history to reach that milestone in his first 11 seasons. … Franklin Gutierrez has 13 home runs in 139 at-bats since his June 24 summons from Triple-A Tacoma. The only player in franchise history with more homers in 200 or fewer at-bats is Ken Phelps with 14 in 190 at-bats in 1998.

ON TAP

The Mariners open their road trip at 5:05 p.m. (PDT) Friday with the first of three weekend games at Texas. Left-hander James Paxton (3-4, 3.82 ERA) will face Rangers right-hander Yovani Gallardo (12-10, 3.35). The game can bee seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN.

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com

blog.thenewstribune.com/mariners

@TNT_Mariners

BY THE NUMBERS:

Slash lines — batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage — for Mariners catchers through Tuesday:

Mike Zunino (112 games): .174/.230/.300

Jesus Sucre (37 games): .124/.170/.202

John Hicks (10 games): .043/.083/043

Steven Baron (2 games): .000/.000/.000

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