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Originally published June 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified July 5, 2007 at 9:08 PM

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M's Notebook | Feierabend keeping good grip on pickoff

Getting booed by his own fans isn't about to stop Ryan Feierabend from using a pickoff move that's now a prime weapon in his arsenal. The left-hander heard the...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Getting booed by his own fans isn't about to stop Ryan Feierabend from using a pickoff move that's now a prime weapon in his arsenal.

The left-hander heard the jeers during the first inning Friday as fans anxious to see a Ken Griffey Jr. at-bat protested all the throws Feierabend made to first base.

Feierabend said on Monday that the hostile reaction didn't bother him in the least. He added that his deceptive pickoff move to first is something he's worked on since he was a child.

"I'd work on it three times a week," he said. "Any time I played catch with my dad during the offseason. I'd get a catcher and we'd normally try to do it three times a week. We'd get a runner to stand there. I'd get a feel for where the runners are, the distance they are from the base.

Mariners five-game planner

Today | vs. Boston, 7:05 p.m., FSN | M's RHP Felix Hernandez (4-4, 4.00) vs. LHP Kason Gabbard (1-0, 3.60).

Wednesday | vs. Boston, 1:35 p.m., FSN | M's LHP Ryan Feierabend (1-2, 8.20) vs. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-5, 4.01).

Friday | vs. Toronto, 7:05 p.m., FSN | M's LHP Jarrod Washburn (6-6, 4.09) vs. RHP Dustin McGowan (4-3, 4.83).

Saturday | vs. Toronto, 7:05 p.m., Ch. 11 | M's RHP Miguel Batista (7-6, 4.85) vs. RHP Roy Halladay (9-2, 4.25).

Sunday | vs. Toronto, 1:05 p.m., FSN | M's RHP Jeff Weaver (2-6, 7.71) vs. RHP Shaun Marcum (4-2, 3.38).

"I'd tell a guy, 'Cheat a little bit towards second so I can see how far you are.' "

That work continued as Feierabend progressed through the professional ranks. A lot more goes into a pickoff move, he said, than merely throwing quickly to first base.

"Some baserunners have different tendencies when they're running to second," he said. "I try to look for stuff like that, and that's something I try to work on in the offseason, too."

Feierabend agrees that a decent pickoff move can be almost as valuable for a pitcher as adding another pitch to his repertoire. In the minors, teammate Adam Jones used to ask him to see the pickoff move during workouts.

Jones and other baserunners would also tell Feierabend if they spotted any tendencies that could be picked up on during games. More often than not, they told Feierabend they were unable to tell whether he was throwing to first base or the catcher.

That's exactly what Feierabend wanted to hear.

"Any time you can get a guy out without having to throw a ball to the plate, it's a plus," he said. "It helps decrease your pitch count by, say, five pitches. If you've got a full count on a batter and you pick someone off, it can save you from putting a guy on base, and you can face that guy again the next inning with a fresh count."

Guillen sits again

Jose Guillen wasn't in a very talkative mood before the game, especially when asked about being out of the lineup for a third straight game. Guillen has battled an assortment of aches and pains in the first half of the season, but kept on shrugging and smiling when asked exactly where he was hurt this time.

At one point, he made a vague reference to a "good right fielder" who needed to get more playing time. But Guillen wouldn't elaborate on what he meant.

Ben Broussard has played right in Guillen's absence, and doubled home a pair of tying runs in Sunday's win over Cincinnati. There has been speculation the team could dump Guillen at the trade deadline to clear up room for Broussard or a Class AAA call-up to play more regularly.

Mariners manager Mike Hargrove said it's up to Guillen to decide when he's healthy enough to play.

"As soon as he says he's ready to go, he'll be back in the lineup," Hargrove said, adding that he hoped that would happen tonight.

Hargrove said it's important to get backup players like Broussard as much playing time as possible.

"But a regular's a regular for a reason," he added.

Batter up

Reliever Mark Lowe is anxiously awaiting a simulated game that he'll pitch Wednesday as he works his way back from offseason arm surgery. It will be the first time Lowe has faced live hitters. If all goes well in that outing and another on Sunday, he expects to head off on a minor-league rehab assignment next week.

"With a bullpen [session] you're just hitting spots, there's no hitters in there," Lowe said. "It's really hard to get excited for a bullpen. A simulated game is different because there's a hitter in there, you're getting to see if you're effective. You can focus with a hitter in the box, try to get a feel for the strike zone."

Lowe, who hasn't pitched since last August, had a very unusual October surgery to regenerate missing cartilage in his elbow. He had follow-up surgery in spring training to loosen up scar tissue in the elbow left over from the first operation.


• There had been some hope that Puyallup's Jon Lester might start for the Red Sox tonight in his first game back from a bout with lymphoma. But those plans were nixed — with southpaw Kason Gabbard getting the nod instead — because the Red Sox want to see more progress made by Lester at the Class AAA level.

Lester pitched for Pawtucket on Monday and had his worst outing yet, allowing eight runs on nine hits in only 4-1/3 innings against Louisville.

• The Red Sox medical staff is evaluating Curt Schilling's sore shoulder, and the frustrated veteran isn't enjoying the wait. The team expects the right-hander will likely remain out past the first week of July and perhaps through the All-Star break. Schilling said Monday he doesn't even know when he will begin throwing again.

When asked if he would be back in Boston's rotation before the break begins July 9, Schilling said, "You know what? I would like to be back by tomorrow. But they have protocol."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

For the record

40-33 .548

Streak: W3

Home: 22-15

Road: 18-18

vs. AL West: 12-10

vs. L.A.: 2-7

vs. Oakland: 4-1

vs. Texas: 6-2

vs. AL East: 10-7

vs. AL Central: 9-7

vs. NL: 9-9

vs. LHP: 14-6

vs. RHP: 26-27

Day: 11-11

Night: 29-22

One-run: 11-9

Extra innings: 2-0

Home attendance

Monday's crowd: 33,830

Season total: 1,119,846

Biggest crowd: 46,340 (June 22)

Smallest crowd: 16,555 (May 2)

Average (37 dates): 30,266

2006 average (37 dates): 26,503

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