Port Orchard’s Willie Bloomquist was an under-appreciated and under-used utility player on a 2008 Seattle Mariners’ team that was 61-101.
It was Bloomquist’s final year with the team that drafted him (third round, 1999, out of Arizona State). Only players left from that 2008 Seattle team are Felix Hernandez and Ichiro Suzuki.
Bloomquist, 34, is having another solid season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who are about to begin a three-game series against the Mariners in Phoenix. Monday’s game starts at 6:40 p.m. (ROOT).
Always a streaky hitter, he had 12 multi-hit games over a recent 19-game stretch that raised his average from .212 to .297. He’s back down to .286 now, which is still 20 points above his career average. And he’s still starting at shortstop on a regular basis.
A lot of so-called experts said Bloomquist could never be an everyday shortstop, but he’s handled the role since Stephen Drew suffered a season-ending ankle injury in July of 2011. Drew might make it back sometime this year, but the D-backs aren’t concerned, not with Bloomquist playing the way he’s been playing. He was among Arizona’s most valuable players a year ago as the D-backs won the NL West.
Bloomquist might be playing the best baseball of his career. Manager Kirk Gibson and bench coach Alan Trammel talk about Willie’s work ethic in this story.
Bloomquist is no Omar Vizquel or Carlos Guillen, but would the M’s have been better off with Bloomquist at shortstop instead of Yuniesky Betancourt, Jack Wilson, Brendan Ryan and others that have been used at that position in recent years? Just asking.