McClendon's first Mariners camp in full swing
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Manager Lloyd McClendon has wasted little time setting his own tone in his first Mariners camp. He let Seattle's young players know pressure is on them to perform, and he sharply defended new second baseman Robinson Cano against criticism from his former batting coach with the Yankees.
But one thing McClendon didn't do was gather his entire team together for a big full-squad pep talk before taking the field for the first time as a group on Tuesday.
"I don't talk to my team as a whole," McClendon said. "Today, I'll meet with my infielders. Tomorrow, I'll meet with the outfielders. I've already met with my pitchers and catchers. I just do it that way because you've get 65 guys out there.
"I'm not that far removed from being a player," he said. "You've got things on your mind other than what the manager is saying to 65 guys. Most of the time, the 25 guys that need to hear it are not listening. I just want to look them in the eye and make sure they understand the message."
Most managers do the full-team sermon on the mound or in the clubhouse prior to opening workouts, and McClendon did as well when he managed the Pirates from 2001-05. But he watched Jim Leyland take the smaller-group approach the past eight years in Detroit and has adapted that for himself.
"When I played, guys always met as a whole on the field," he said. "I was one of those guys in the back trying to recover from the night before. So I didn't always hear what the manager had to say. It's something Jim started in Detroit, and I thought it was pretty good. I said if I ever got the opportunity again, I'd certainly do it that way, and so far it's worked pretty good for us."
And just in case anybody isn't hearing him, McClendon has repeated one theme to the media several times in the past few days.
"Part of the message is: I love you, but if you can't get it done, I'll get somebody that can," he said. "I'll repeat it again: We're not in the developing stage. We're here to win. We'll develop in the Minor Leagues, but at this level, we want to win. So we have to shore up all our shortcomings, and we have to get it done in a short period of time."