Texeira makes Mariners roster

April 1, 2010, 6:28 AM HST · Updated April 1, 6:28 AM
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By Fred Guzman

MauiNow.com

Given his sensational spring stats, the news was hardly surprising. Still, it had to be a thrill for Kaneokoa Texeira, the kid from Kula, who yesterday learned he is about to become the third player from Maui to be wearing a big-league uniform on opening day of the baseball season.

The right-handed reliever’s Grapefruit League numbers are dazzling. He is 1-0 with a 0.64 earned run average in 14 innings, allowing nine hits, one earned run, four walks and has eight strikeouts.

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The 24-year-old Texeira, picked up by the Mariners from the Yankees via the Rule 5 draft, will join Philadelphia center fielder Shane Victorino and Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki in the big league ranks.

Victorino, who signed a three-year, $22 million deal over the winter, batted .313 over 16 games this spring and is coming off a season during which he garnered both All-Star and Gold Glove status.

He appears to have adjusted well – if not happily — to being dropped from second to seventh in the lineup, making way for off-season acquisition Placido Polano. The veteran third baseman batted a blistering .375 this spring with a .407 on-base percentage.

Suzuki is penciled in to bat fifth in the A’s lineup despite struggling at the plate this spring, batting .170 with two homers and eight RBI in 17 games. Suzuki did lead the team in RBI last season with 88.

The Phillies open the season on Monday, visiting the Washington Nationals in a game that will be aired on Maui’s ESPN 550 starting at 7:05 a.m.

Later that day, Seattle visits Oakland, with the chance of a pitcher from Maui facing a batter from Maui for the first time in a big league game.

UH SPRING DRILLS: The names and faces are the same, but the football staff had a rearranged look when the University of Hawaii kicked off spring drills Tuesday.

Head coach Greg McMackin has promoted Nick Rolovich to offensive coordinator and Dave Aranda to defensive coordinator.

Rolovich actually took over the play-calling duties from Ron Lee for the final 12 games last season. Rolovich also will be in charge of the quarterbacks, working with incumbent starter Bryant Moniz, Shane Austin and Brent Rausch.

After making all the defensive calls in his first season as head coach, McMackin began yielding play-calling duties to Aranda last year. Aranda will also work with the linebackers.

The changes mean the roles of the Lee brothers have been reduced.

Cal Lee, who was defensive coordinator the past two yers, is now in charge of defensive ends. Ron Lee, who was offensive coordinator, is now in charge of receivers.

Tony Tuioti, who was the director of player personnel, is now in charge of defensive tackles. And longtime assistant George Lumpkin will become director of player personnel.

More than 100 players will participate in the 15 days of practice over the next month. Spring training will conclude with the annual Warrior Bowl April 30 on the UH campus.

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