Minor League Notes

Clint Nageotte finished up his season in the AFL on Monday, and left an impression on the Mariners, and other clubs, in his six starts in the desert.

One AL scout said of Nageotte that "he's doing it with less effort than the last time I saw him. There is more of a fluid motion out there and that seems to be key for his control. I like what I see."

Nageotte ended the fall with a 1-2 record and a 2.33 ERA in 27 innings. The 24-year-old struck out 24, walked just four and allowed just 22 hits.

Selected to pitch for the U.S.A. Olympic qualifying team later this month, Nageotte will surrender that roster spot to attend to a family matter at home in Ohio.

Adam Jones is coming along nicely in center field for Peoria, according to a Chicago White Sox scout, who is a former center fielder himself.

"Much better than the first week," said the scout. "He appeared a little nervous at first, or maybe it was just his unfamiliarity with the position. But he seems to have taken a liking to his new job. And boy can he throw."

Jones has three outfield assists in his time in the AFL.

But his glove work isn't the only thing getting attention these days. The 20-year-old has once again surprised many with his emergence at the plate, raising his average over 80 points in his past 8 games played, including a four-hit effort last week.

"I think his offense was directly related to his defense," said an NL scout. "As soon as he looked better in the field, his bat followed. That is one thing I noticed from the top of my notes. If he isn't their (Mariners) best prospect, he's close."

If Jones isn't the club's top prospect, it's Jeff Clement, who is down in the desert working extra hard on his defense.

"You can tell he's putting more effort into that," said an AL West scout. "But his bat is always going to lead. After his tough beginning, he's looked better back there, and runners are certainly picking on him."

Clement threw out just one of the first 12 runners trying to steal, but has gunned down three of the last seven, including two in a row versus Grand Rapids last week.

"His arm strength is there, it's about average, it's just about repeating a fluid release point," said the scout. "With their guy (Roger Hansen) coaching him, he'll get there. He couldn't be in a better situation as a catcher. His footwork is okay, but it will get better."

When Justin Leone signed with the San Diego Padres on Friday, the Tacoma Rainiers roster took its first hit.

But the club has several options to go to at third base, with Hunter Brown the most likely candidate to take over the gig full time.

Expect the Mariners to officially announce Dave Brundage as manager of the Rainiers sometime this week. Brundage, 41, spent the past five season with Double-A San Antonio, making four postseason appearances and winning two Texas League titles (2002-2003).

Brundage will replace Dan Rohn, recently hired as a special administrative coach for the M's. The M's are expected to promote Dwight Bernard to Tacoma. Bernard spent this past season as Brundage's pitching coach and is likely to take on the same role in Tacoma for 2006.

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