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New look for Mariners

The Seattle Mariners will have a new look in 2009. Well, kind of.

The Seattle Mariners will have a new look in 2009. Well, kind of.

Don Wakamatsu begins his first year in the dugout, inheriting a team that lost 101 games in 2008. However, general manager Jack Zduriencik continued to make wholesale changes this off-season, as he dealt closer J.J. Putz and let outfielder Raul Ibanez leave as a free agent.

Before the end of last season, Zduriencik had rid the team of first baseman Richie Sexson and designated hitter Jose Vidro.

So, Wakamatsu will have four new starters in a lineup that produced only 671 runs a year ago. Only four players hit 10 or more home runs for the Mariners last season and two of them were Sexson and Ibanez.

But one of the new faces is not that unfamiliar to fans who frequent Safeco Field, as Ken Griffey Jr. returns. An 11-time all-star, Griffey spent the first 11 years of his 20-year career in Seattle, finishing in the top 10 in the MVP voting in seven of his years with the Mariners.

Griffey, though, is not the player he was when he left in 1999. Last year, he recorded a career-low .249 batting average, with 18 homers and 71 RBIs in 143 games with the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox.

 
 
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