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In Seattle, help wanted

Posted by Maureen Mullen October 2, 2008 06:01 AM

With the Seattle Mariners searching for a general manager -- Lee Pelekoudas is the interim GM, replacing Bill Bavasi, who was fired in June -- and several other teams likely to join the hunt this off-season, some familiar names could be among the candidates, including that of Red Sox assistant general manager Jed Hoyer.

"It's really flattering to hear something like that," Hoyer said. "I know a lot of it has to do with the success we've had as an organization. But I love it here and I'm really happy working with [general manager] Theo [Epstein]. I feel like I'm still learning a ton."

Hoyer interviewed for the Pirates GM position last year but has not had contact with any teams this year.

"Heading into the playoffs, that's the last thing on my mind," he said.

Hoyer, 34, joined the Sox' baseball operations department in 2002. He served as assistant to the GM in 2004 and 2005 and was named co-GM, with Ben Cherington (now vice president of player personnel), when Epstein briefly left the organization from October 2004 to January 2005. That's when Hoyer was appointed to his current position.

Twice is nice for Lester
One major league scout who has watched pitcher Jon Lester since the left-hander was in high school in Tacoma, Wash., will not be surprised that Lester was named pitcher of the month for the second time this season. Lester went 4-1 with a 2.14 ERA and 28 strikeouts in five September starts.

"I've seen him since he was in high school and I loved him then, his makeup, his stuff," the scout said. "It would not surprise me at all if he won a couple of Cy Youngs before he's done. You could be looking at a future Hall of Famer."

Power outage for Casey
How weird is it that Sean Casey, with 199 at-bats, and Alex Cora, 152 at-bats, are the only Sox players with more than 100 at-bats and no home runs this season? For Casey, 33, it was the first season since 1997 -- when he made his major league debut as a September call-up, getting 10 at-bats -- that he did not hit a round-tripper.

"Yeah, it is a little weird," Casey said. "I think it's more just playing here and there. I've hit a couple balls that I think are gone anywhere else but here aren't. Does it bother me? Not really. I mean at this stage of my career, not really. But it is kind of weird. But what's going to be the difference if I hit one or none? Is it funny I haven't hit a homer? Yeah."

Casey, who had a two-run single to put the Sox ahead in their eventual 4-3 win in the second game of Sunday's doubleheader with the Yankees, hit .322 with 17 RBI in his first season in a utility role. He had a career-high 25 homers in 1999 with the Reds.

"Just recently I started thinking about it a little bit, but not really," he said. "Because in this role I just haven't thought about it much. Years ago when I was younger I would have driven myself crazy thinking about it. Now I'm like, it is what it is. That's the bottom line. I feel like I swung the bat well pretty much all year. But do I want to be hitting .210 with two homers, or .320 with none?

"I think when you play every day, I think you get into a rhythm and you might run into a few homers. You could hit four in one week just because you run into that kind of swing. So for me it's been getting into a rhythm. I've never not played every day so it's definitely been an adjustment, but I welcomed it and I think I've done all right making the adjustment."
Casey, who will be a free agent after the season, said he has not yet had talks with the Sox about next year.

"No, not yet," he said. "We'll just wait and see what happens after we're done playing this year."

Maureen Mullen covers the Red Sox for OT and can be reached at mmullen@globe.com

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Charles P. Pierce writes for the Boston Globe Magazine. A long-time sportswriter and columnist, Pierce is a frequent guest on national TV and radio.
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