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Outhinking The Hitters

SEATTLE–Low Class A Wisconsin lefthander Bobby Livingston said it, and Brad Holman laughed that satisfied, "He-gets-it" pitching coach kind of laugh.

"Hitters are dumb. They’re real dumb," Livingston said. The 20-year-old from Lubbock, Texas, wasn’t being cocky. He said it as though it were a pitiful, predictable part of the game he loves so much.

"They get themselves out on bad pitches," he said. "You get them diving out for a changeup, and they swing and miss. You throw the same pitch and they do it again and again. And I think, ‘What do you keep swinging at that pitch for?’ "

Up to now, Livingston has had little trouble baffling hitters. In 47 innings, he was 5-1, 2.66 with 31 strikeouts and 10 walks. No other Wisconsin starter had more than two wins.

"He’s got a pretty mature approach that’s very uncharacteristic of a pitcher that age," Holman said of the Mariners’ fourth-round pick in 2001. "He’s not afraid to throw offspeed pitches for strikes. He’s not afraid to throw a fastball, then two or three offspeed pitches in a row and watch the batter try to spin himself into the ground trying to hit them."

Holman called the quality "gumption."

Livingston understands trying to strike out every batter is a selfish notion.

"They’re going to hit the ball," Living-ston said. "I just have to throw strikes, get ahead of guys, change speeds and keep the batter off-balance. I don’t overpower hitters. I have a feel for my body and my pitches, and I try to use my ability to outsmart batters."

Livingston, the Mariners’ No. 27 prospect heading into the season, has a fastball that sits in the high 80s. But he’s shown the ability to get batters out, going 6-5, 3.02 at short-season Everett last year. "He’s going to be a prospect in the sense that he keeps getting people out," Holman said.


• The Mariners promoted outfielder Tomoshi Aoki and lefthander Miguel Martinez to Wisconsin. To make room for the additions, the Timber Rattlers sent lefthander Beau Hintz and first baseman Josh McNulty to extended spring training.

• The San Antonio Missions have helped bring baseball to Iraq. At their May 10 game, they collected gloves that were sent to the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division in Iraq. A fan enlisted the Texas League club’s help, saying the troops had received baseballs but had no gloves. Assistant general manager Jeff Long put out the word, and the company Baseball Express donated two dozen Louisville Slugger bats engraved with a "101st Airborne" insignia. The team also sent catcher’s equipment, bats, gloves and some uniform jerseys.

• Previous organization report: A.J. Zapp

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