Bloomquist isn't ready to hang up spikes

Bloomquist isn't ready to hang up spikes

OAKLAND -- Willie Bloomquist has come full circle in his Major League days, returning the past two years to the Mariners club with whom he began his career in 2002. But the veteran utility man isn't ready to let it end that way after being designated for assignment by Seattle on Thursday to open a roster spot for young infielder Chris Taylor.

Bloomquist told MLB.com he's not ready to retire and hopes a spot opens for him on another team that has more of an opportunity for him to contribute in the final half of the season.

"For me, honestly, it's a mixture of emotions," Bloomquist said by phone while cleaning out his locker at Safeco Field. "I'm doing great. I'm not disappointed or mad at anyone. I've been around this game long enough to understand the business side. Sometimes moves have to happen. I get it.

"I'm tremendously grateful for the Mariners organization. They're the guys that drafted me and brought me back. I grew up here. I was a Mariners fan and I'll always be a Mariners fan. To be able to play in the big leagues for 7 1/2 years in my hometown, who can say that? It's been awesome. I've loved every minute of it."

That said, Bloomquist doesn't want his career to end on a season in which he's hit just .159 with one double and four RBIs in 69 at-bats over 35 games.

"I'd worked extremely hard [returning from knee surgery] to get back to full strength and I was expecting big things not only from myself, but my team as well," said Bloomquist, who grew up in Port Orchard, Wash. "So to have this happen, it stinks. It's not fun. I'm hoping there's another opportunity that will be better than this situation that I'm personally in right now.

"I love to compete. I understand my role, I get all that. But for me to sit and watch and not do what I think I'm capable of doing and have proved I'm capable of doing has been very frustrating. I know I'm hitting .160, but I'm not going to judge myself on 60 at-bats. I know I'm better that that."

Bloomquist said he's loved playing for manager Lloyd McClendon, who he calls one of his favorite managers ever. But he wants to play and acknowledged the situation in Seattle -- with Robinson Cano at second, Kyle Seager at third, youngsters like Taylor and Brad Miller at short and a big group of outfielders -- didn't leave him much of a role.

"I still have an extreme fuel and fire in my life," Bloomquist said. "I'm looking forward to getting to a team that sees a value in me. I know my numbers are awful. They're downright atrocious. But I also know what I'm capable of doing and hopefully the phone will ring and I'll get an opportunity."

McClendon said it was a tough conversation informing Bloomquist his time was done in Seattle.

"It was a very difficult decision," said McClendon, who first managed Bloomquist in the Arizona Fall League in 2000. "He's done so much for this organization and was great in the clubhouse. His work ethic was second to none. It's always tough to let the good guys go. But we just felt Taylor was at the point now where he's playing consistent baseball down at Triple-A."

Bloomquist is a career .269 hitter in 1,055 Major League games and is in the second year of a $5.8 million deal he signed last season. In his career -- which has also included stints with the Royals, D-backs and Reds -- Bloomquist has appeared in 339 games in the outfield, 305 at shortstop, 142 at third base, 141 at second, 47 at first and 46 at DH.

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.