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Former Mariners star Davis hired as instructor

Will primarily be working with hitters in the club's Minor League system

SEATTLE -- Mariners Hall of Famer Alvin Davis has rejoined the organization as a special assignment instructor and will be working with hitters in the Minor League system at Peoria, Everett, High Desert and Tacoma.

Davis, 51, said he decided to get back into pro baseball now that his kids have grown up, and called Mariners president Chuck Armstrong to see if there might be a fit.

"I'm a Mariner at heart," Davis said. "Always have been, always will be. This is my organization, my family, and I want to see us back at the top of the [American League West] division. It's tough being a Mariner fan living in Southern California because they're Angels nuts down there, and I get to see a lot of them and what they're doing with their club. I want to see us back where we belong."

Davis, who was at Safeco Field on Friday to throw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of the team's ongoing 35th anniversary celebration, has been coaching high school ball the past seven years. So he figured getting into player development was the natural path.

He's already worked a few days with Rookie League players in Peoria and will be at Everett and Tacoma in early August. Being a former All-Star first baseman who hit .280 over the course of a nine-year Major League career, he was asked if he'd like the opportunity to talk to recently demoted Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak.

"I hope to have a conversation with him," Davis said. "Coming in this late, I'll primarily be working through the staff there. But what I'd love to do is make myself available, just to have a baseball talk with Justin. And maybe the best thing for Justin is to talk about fishing.

"Sometimes you're grinding too hard," he said. "One thing [former Mariners manager] Jim Lefebvre said, which I'd never heard before I played for Jim, was that sometimes you have to try easier. You just have to trust your ability, take a deep breath and enjoy the game and make it fun again.

"That's the art part of baseball and working with human beings that have emotion and the mental aspect of it. Does a guy need to push harder or does he need to push easier? That's the hard part."