M's Notebook | Johjima gets delivery
One clubhouse visitor received rave reviews from the Mariners before Tuesday night's game. It was Vernon Wells Sr., father of the Toronto...
Seattle Times Staff Reporter
ARLINGTON, Texas — One clubhouse visitor received rave reviews from the Mariners before Tuesday night's game. It was Vernon Wells Sr., father of the Toronto Blue Jays' All-Star center fielder and an increasingly in-demand artist specializing in painted portraits of athletes.
He had arrived to deliver two finished works to catcher Kenji Johjima.
Wells, 51, did about 95 percent of the paintings in acrylic, mostly with an airbrush. The former wide-receiver standout at Texas Christian University — who had a brief pro fling with the Kansas City Chiefs — estimates to have done about 1,000 such paintings over the past 30 years.
"He is the first [Japanese player] that commissioned me to do one," Wells said of Johjima. "I did some of Ichiro before, but it wasn't for him. I also did some of [Hideo] Nomo as well."
Wells lives in Arlington, and he and Johjima had gone over details of the final designs for the paintings during Seattle's previous visit last month. The large-sized portraits were sitting by an inner entrance to the visitors' clubhouse and a crowd of players and coaches soon gathered to admire them.
One painting had a large facial portrait of Johjima alongside smaller ones of his wife and children.
The other also had a Johjima facial portrait and smaller drawings of him in action poses — taken from photographs — with both the Mariners and his Fukuoka Softbank Hawks team in Japan. Another part of the painting has a small action portrait of Detroit Tigers catcher Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez.
"The reason why I have Pudge on that painting is that he was actually my dream player," Johjima said through an interpreter. "He was the player that made me want to come to the major leagues. I admired him a lot.
"I thought he was a special catcher. Like myself, he isn't a big player, but he is so impressive — he's got a great arm. Overall, as a catcher, I liked him the most."
Woods needs strong start
Jake Woods isn't planning any special pregame routines before taking the mound as a starter again Thursday in Chicago. Woods tossed six innings of two-run relief last week in Kansas City, but he has yet to last that long in five starts.
One reason is his tendency to get roughed up early. Woods talked in recent weeks with fellow starter Jarrod Washburn and pitching coach Rafael Chaves about possible pregame routine changes to fool his body into thinking it had already pitched the first inning.
"I've thought about going out there a little early, throwing a bit and taking a break," Woods said. "For most guys, that is like an inning. I've just got to find out how to get through that first inning and minimize the damage."
Woods hasn't altered his routine yet. But he did get to gauge how he'd react to a delay after the pregame bullpen warmup for his most recent start Sept. 11 against Toronto.
"That one day, we had two national anthems and another song," Woods said. "So it was almost kind of like I'd sat for a little while. But it didn't work."
Woods allowed two first-inning runs and five over 5-1/3 innings. He was returned to the bullpen a couple of days later, but now gets another chance.
"In Kansas City, I gave up one, but you know you have to get your team through to the seventh or eighth inning," Woods said of Friday's relief effort.
How the runs scored
Mariners first: Ichiro grounded out to second. Beltre grounded out to shortstop. Johjima homered to left. Ibanez singled to center. Sexson flied out to center. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. M's 1, Rangers 0.
Rangers first: Matthews Jr. homered to left. M.Young walked. Teixeira flied out to right. M.Young stole second. Lee grounded out to second, M.Young to third. DeRosa walked. Blalock singled to left, M.Young scored, DeRosa to second. Barajas struck out. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Rangers 2, M's 1.
Mariners second: Broussard flied out to left. Betancourt flied out to right. Snelling walked. Bloomquist singled to center, Snelling to second. Ichiro singled to right, Snelling scored, Bloomquist to third. Ichiro stole second. Beltre walked. Johjima fouled out to first. 1 run, 2 hits, 0 errors, 3 left on. M's 2, Rangers 2.
Rangers third: Teixeira homered to center. Lee flied out to left. Jimenez pitching. DeRosa doubled to left. Blalock homered to right, DeRosa scored. Barajas fouled out to first. Kinsler homered to left. N.Cruz flied out to center. 4 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 0 left on. Rangers 6, M's 2.
Mariners fourth: Snelling struck out. Bloomquist singled to center. Ichiro singled to center, Bloomquist to third. Ichiro stole second, on catcher Barajas' throwing error, Bloomquist scored, Ichiro to third. Beltre grounded out to third, Ichiro scored. Johjima fouled out to first. 2 runs, 2 hits, 1 error, 0 left on. Rangers 6, M's 4.
Mariners fifth: Ibanez singled to right. Sexson infield single to third, Ibanez to second. Rheinecker pitching. Perez pinch-hitting for Broussard. Perez struck out. Betancourt singled to center, Ibanez scored, Sexson to second. Snelling grounded into fielder's choice, second baseman Kinsler to shortstop M.Young, Sexson to third, Betancourt out. Bloomquist flied out to right. 1 run, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Rangers 6, M's 5.
Rangers fifth: Perez in as designated hitter. Fruto pitching. Lee walked. Lee stole second. DeRosa struck out. Blalock grounded out to second, Lee to third. Barajas singled to right, Lee scored. Kinsler grounded out to pitcher. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 left on. Rangers 7, M's 5.
Mariners ninth: Hairston Jr. in as left fielder. Otsuka pitching. Dobbs pinch-hitting for Perez. Dobbs safe at third on Otsuka's error. Betancourt struck out. Snelling struck out. Bloomquist singled to left, Dobbs scored. Bloomquist stole second. Ichiro singled to center, Bloomquist scored. Beltre singled to left, Ichiro to second. Johjima grounded into fielder's choice, shortstop M.Young to second baseman Kinsler, Beltre out. 2 runs, 3 hits, 1 error, 2 left on. M's 7, Rangers 7.
Mariners 10th: Wilson pitching. Ibanez struck out. Sexson walked. Morse pinch-hitting for Dobbs. Morse singled to right, Sexson to second. Lopez pinch-running for Sexson. Betancourt grounded out to first, Lopez to third, Morse to second. Jones pinch-hitting for Snelling. Benoit pitching. Jones singled to center, Lopez scored, Morse scored. Bloomquist singled to center, Jones to third. Ichiro flied out to left. 2 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. M's 9, Rangers 7.
For the record
W/L streak: W-1
At home: 41-34
On road: 31-45
vs. AL West: 15-35
vs. Angels: 9-10
vs. Oakland: 1-15
vs. Texas: 5-10
vs. AL East: 25-19
vs. AL Cen.: 18-21
vs. NL: 14-4
vs. LHP: 19-23
vs. RHP: 53-56
Extra innings: 7-7
The week ahead
5:05 p.m., FSN
RH Cha Seung Baek (3-1)
@ White Sox
5:05 p.m., FSN
LH Jake Woods (5-3)
RH Javier Vazquez
@ White Sox
5:35 p.m., Ch. 11
RH Gil Meche (11-8)
RH Jose Contreras
@ White Sox
10:25 a.m., Ch. 13
LH Mark Buehrle
@ White Sox
11:05 a.m., FSN
LH Jarrod Washburn (8-14)
RH Freddy Garcia
7:05 p.m., FSN
RH Cha Seung Baek (3-1)
RH Esteban Loaiza (10-8)