Q&A: Mariners manager Mike Hargrove

<b>ANAHEIM –</b> Seattle Mariners manager Mike Hargrove sat down with reporters on Sunday to discuss his new team, the Richie Sexson rumors and his baseball philosophies:

What's your take on Jose Lopez?

He's flexible. One obvious strength of his is that he swings the bat well. People who have seen him in winter ball tell me that there's some things he's worked on, and he's trying to settle in to the major league level. We've got to allow him to find out what he can do. We're looking at him as a shortstop, and there's one thing for sure – he can swing the bat.

How do you see the catching situation?

Well, [Miguel] Olivo is going to be our No. 1 guy going in. Dan Wilson, who we re-signed, is such a good guy to have because we know we have a real strong fallback situation in the event Olivo doesn't work out. But we know Olivo has a lot of tools.

Is there anything you learned in your past managerial stints that you hope to apply in this new job?

I don't think so. I certainly don't think everything I've done was right, but I believe in the things I did in the past. There are certainly some things I think I could tweak and get better at in the present situation.

What is your situation like in the AL West?

It's a tough division, the way Anaheim finished [and] Texas and Oakland finished. We want to be competitive. We said from the get-go that our goal is to be competitive on a daily basis as soon as we can, and rebuild this thing as quick as we can. But we don't want to lose the fact that we want to do this 10 years from now as well.

Have you had the idea of using Ichiro in center field in your mind?

You know, I've been accused of having nothing in my mind a lot of times (Hargrove laughs). I don't know. He's a great, gifted athlete, but I also know he's one of the best right fielders in the game.

Did your time in Cleveland change your philosophies?

My time in Cleveland cemented the things I believe in doing. We had people that did a great job over there, and from what I've seen, the same mentality is here. We want to get it done quickly but build it to last.

What do you think of your rotation?

It's a solid rotation. It doesn't hurt to add to it. I know [Ryan] Franklin had a tough year, and we had some injuries in the rotation. When it's healthy, it's a competitive rotation. I feel good about the people in the rotation.

Do you view this as a challenge, taking over a team that had so much trouble?

There's a chance here to do good things, and that's exciting. I always think you should be challenging yourself, so yes, I look at this as a challenge. But not more than any other job.

Have you been active in the recruiting process with free agents?

I've had conversations with some people, but not a lot, thank goodness. My job's not as a negotiator or a recruiter, but I help where I'm asked to help. [That's] not much, but there's a good balance.

What would you think about Richie Sexson in left field?

Richie's a very good athlete. This is in no shape or form means that anything's going on, but Richie can play left field. He can play anywhere he wants, he's such a good athlete. If we did acquire Richie or someone like Richie, I'd have no qualms.

How much responsibility will your coaching staff have?

My coaches will be responsible for certain areas of the ballclub and will be held accountable for those areas. 25 years ago, the job of a coach was to hit ground balls and that was it. Now, with all the young kids we have to rush to the big leagues – we all have to – guys are learning to play the game at the major league level. We've had to be teachers more so than 20 or 25 years ago. It's something I believe in.

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