Adrian Beltre may have entered the majors as a Dodger, but he's come of age as a Mariner. Via Big League Stew, the Seattle Times' Mariners Blog brings us quotes from Beltre regarding tension in the Mariners' clubhouse:
Beltre was asked for his definition of playing the game "the right way."
"My understanding is, you do the little things," he said. "If you have a man at second, you move him over. Give up the at-bat. If you're losing by two or three runs, don't go up there and hack. Because if you hit a home run, you're still going to lose by a run. Play the situation game. If you know you're winning by two or three runs and they have men at first and second and you're sure the guy is going to score at home plate, don't throw home because you can try to cut the other guy off. Just the little things you can go over.
"Just do the little things. Take a walk if you need it. If you need a guy on base, bunt if you can run. Just the little things like that, where the team can see that you're playing to help a team win. Not just numbers or your stats and stuff." [...]
I asked Beltre: "Is he (Ichiro) one of those guys you think can do more?"
Beltre initially said he didn't have issues with any one player.
"I don't single out anybody," he said. "You're never going to hear that out of my mouth. I think that it's wrong to single out your teammate. If I'm a good teammate, I'm going to support everybody here. Even if he is, or he's not (playing the right way) I'm not going to tell you. Because I think that should be addressed in the clubhouse, not outside."
So not only is Beltre considered a clubhouse leader, but he's also learned the art of the political quote. Although it remains to be seen if he and Ichiro can work past their supposed differences, the comments by Beltre suggest he's much more mature than the callow third baseman who hit 48 home runs for the Dodgers in 2004. (Or when he underwent a botched appendectomy in the Dominican Republic in 2001.) It's nice to see that $64 million doesn't necessarily stop a player from improving his character.