Marty: How close are you to being ready?
Mark: I’d like to get a glove on my hand and go out and take ground balls and shag some flies and just be out there with the guys. Right now it’s just a steady diet of rehabbing the wrist and going through multiple bouts of that. Every day I wake up and come to the park with the intention of motivating myself to put the bat in my hand as quick as possible. I also understand this is the second time I’ve done this surgery and I don’t want to be stupid. But if I don’t give myself something to shoot for and instead just wait for the off-season, the motivation factor to come in and work hard every day might not be there. So I want to serve a purpose, come in, work hard, get better and at the same time help these guys win ball games.
Marty: How do you like being in the Bay Area?
Mark: I’ve been here by myself hurt the whole time, so I went through a pretty rough phase when I really wasn’t getting around the city too much. But lately I’ve been stepping out a little bit more. I’ve always enjoyed coming here as a visiting player. I love this city, but you can have the cold!
Marty: But restaurant-wise, it’s really an amazing city.
Mark: Oh, it’s got everything. I always go up to North Beach and find those little Italian joints. That’s my little area to go hang out and eat dinner, I’ve really enjoyed it so far. And I look forward to getting my family out here next year.
Marty: The stretch run, September baseball — you can’t wait to get to the park every day. Every day is almost like a playoff game, isn’t it?
Mark: It is, and we have a lot of veterans who have been there. Juan Uribe, Pat Burrell, those guys have won World Series. I mean, these are great guys to use as resources to understand that you are going to have to play a month where every game means the world. And it’s got to be played like that. You’re going to have some tired guys at the end of this month but when we play an NLDS game, everybody’s going to be fired up and realize it’s a different animal. And it’s something I feel like a Freddie Sanchez and an Aubrey Huff deserve to experience this in their careers. I’ve been very fortunate to get to the post-season but not go very far in it. So I’d like to get there as well, even if it’s as an observer.
Marty: Of course, you’ve got to have good pitching down the stretch.
Mark: That’s the name of the game. We’ve been fortunate. Our bats have heated up at the right time. But we’ve been still getting some gems from the pitching staff. I told Tim on the bus coming home from the road trip, we’re gonna go as far as he’s going to take us. These guys have battled hard all year, but you need your ace.