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Good headline, TNT April 15, 2009

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Possible police-blotter headline if things go south: Killer bat-work from Betancourt.

He does make good contact.  Selected highlights:

Yuniesky Betancourt knew what he needed to do… Kill the ball.

Yeah, Betancourt killed the ball. He killed it to perfection.

Kill the ball?… Kill it.

“That was a fantastic bunt.”

Yep, it was pretty great.  Also in the article: apparently Endy Chavez is taking the place of Miguel Cairo and Carlos Garcia as the Yuni-whisperer, which translates into ball-killing.

Today’s news: Yuni has no coach October 6, 2007

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The Seattle Mariners are letting manager John McLaren pick his own coaches for next year’s team (he’s only keeping hitting coach Jeff Pentland). The News Tribune points out the impact this’ll have on Yuniesky Betancourt:

(Carlos) Garcia joined the club three years ago as a first-base and infield coach, working with youngsters such as shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt and Jose Lopez.

There goes Yuni’s coach.  And how did Garcia find out he didn’t have a job? With a well-timed phone call.

“I was drinking a little wine and enjoying being back with my family when I got the call,” Garcia said. “Mac and (general manager) Bill Bavasi called and explained they were going another direction.

Good thing he had that wine handy.
So, the only infield and “don’t stalk Jeff Clement during his home run trot” coach Yuni’s had with the M’s is gone. What’s Carlos Garcia’s legacy? I’ll always remember him as a fairly decent player in Ken Griffey, Jr. Baseball (once you fixed all the names), but I think M’s fan will remember the errors. He groomed the middle infield duo of Betancourt and Jose Lopez, which has had some glove problems. Yuniesky turned around his bumbles in the second half of 2007, but that’s when Lopez had several very publicized miscues. Yuni’s had back-to-back seasons with more than 20 errors, while Lopez had 16 last year. These stats won’t look great on Garcia’s resume.
The Seattle P-I wrote a nice piece before the 2006 season on the then-new Lopez-Betancourt combination, which had plenty of quotes from Garcia and Yuni (who doesn’t get quoted in the news as much as I’d like).
Garcia was a second baseman back with Pittsburgh (playing beside Jay Bell, who was the third-best position player in Griffey Baseball), and had this insightful comment about Lopez learning the position:

“He was a shortstop, and when you’re at short, the whole field is in front of you. When you are at second, a lot of the time you operate without knowing exactly where the runner coming from first is. It takes a long time to learn how to judge where the runner is going to be when you’re turning the double play.”

And what did Yuni have to say? Well, he likes Spanish:

“Lopez and I, we’re both Latin, so that’s a bond right there,” Betancourt said. “We don’t have to work as hard to communicate.”

During M’s games, I see Yuni talking with Adrian Beltre a lot, both in the field and on the bench. With three of the M’s infielders speaking Spanish as a first language, the M’s should have a coach that can speak their language.