Notes: Beltre walks to own beat
Unique approach to check swings adds levity to clubhouse
NEW YORK -- It's rare when a batter checks his swing and then immediately asks the home-plate umpire to check with the first-base ump to make sure it wasn't a swing.That's usually what the other team's catcher does. But Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre oftentimes is the first to ask, causing some head-scratching in the Seattle dugout. "I had never seen it, until I saw A.B. do it," Mariners hitting coach Jeff Pentland said. "Why he does it, I don't know." Beltre said it's just his way of beating the catcher to the punch, and he figures that if he's proactive, the chances are better that the umps would agree with him. That isn't always the case. "I remember one time when he asked and they called a strike on him," Pentland said. "He cost himself a strikeout, but he did go around, so somebody would have yelled." Pentland said it isn't a big issue, but "nobody on the staff recommends it." "I don't harp on it at all," Pentland said. "Once they step into the batter's box, they are up there to hit on their own. We'll talk before the at-bat about the pitcher and A.B.'s approach. Otherwise, he's on his own." Pentland said he rarely says anything about the check-swing thing Beltre does, or the "happy feet" that sometimes emerges when Beltre takes a pitch. "A.B. likes to have a lot of fun," Pentland added. "Sometimes, we take this game too seriously, and we need more levity. That's his way of loosening things up, and I don't have a problem with it. Still, it's very strange to be the one asking the umpire if you went around." Pentland walked away, shaking his head and smiling. Green on the job: Right-hander Sean Green was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma prior to Sunday's game, replacing Julio Mateo on the 25-man roster and Sean White as the long reliever. "I have been throwing well [at Triple-A] and have been waiting for an opportunity to come up here," Green said. "I'm not exactly sure what's happening [with Mateo], and I'm just here to fill a spot." The Mariners optioned Mateo to Tacoma on Saturday following an apparent domestic dispute at the hotel where the Mariners are staying during their four-game series against the Yankees. On Sunday, the team suspended Mateo for 10 days without pay for missing Saturday's game without club permission. There is no telling how the team will fare without Mateo, but Green could take over Mateo's mid- to late-inning setup relief job. Hargrove said that he had a telephone conversation with Mateo on Saturday, but he would not comment further. It was not known as of Sunday morning when Mateo would report to the Rainiers. A player has 72 hours to report to his new team. According to The Associated Press, Mateo turned himself in to police authorities for questioning on Saturday evening. A story in Sunday's New York Daily News, citing a source with the police department, said that Mateo and his wife, Aurea, got into an argument early Sunday morning in the hotel room that the couple and one of their two children was staying in. Mateo's wife went to a nearby hospital for treatment, which included five stitches to close a lip wound. Mateo is making $1 million in the second year of a two-year contract. The deal includes a club option for 2008 worth $1.5 million or a $100,000 buyout, plus $50,000 for 55 and 60 appearances in 2007. Burke, the tourist: Backup catcher Jamie Burke is enjoying his first visit to the Big Apple, especially Yankee Stadium. He spent about a half-hour on Friday in Monument Park, located behind the fence in left-center field. "It's kind of neat," he said. "I have seen it on TV a lot of times, but this was the first time I got to see it in person. I really wanted to see [the plaques] of The Babe and Mickey Mantle, but they're all interesting." This 'n' that: One way of looking at the first two games of the Yankees series is that the Mariners averaged 11 hits and eight runs. But 20 of those hits and 15 of the runs came in Friday night's game. The two hits the Mariners had off right-hander Chien-Ming Wang and Yankees reliever Brian Bruney on Saturday were the fewest since they were held to one hit by the Athletics on April 8, 2006. ... The Mariners had no runners left on base Saturday, the 14th time in franchise history. Ben Broussard was the first Mariners batter to reach base, homering in the eighth inning. Jose Guillen followed with a single, but catcher Kenji Johhima grounded into an inning-ending double play. ... Second baseman Jose Lopez was a late scratch on Sunday with a bruised ankle that was sustained in a collision with Yankees first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz in the sixth inning of Saturday's game. On deck: The Mariners' first four-game series of the season to actually be played in its entirely will conclude on Monday night at Yankee Stadium, where right-hander Miguel Batista (3-2, 6.30 ERA) will take on Matt DeSalvo (Major League debut) and the Yankees. Batista has won back-to-back starts for the first time this season.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.