- Associated Press - Monday, August 9, 2010

SEATTLE (AP) - Instead of leading Seattle to its first postseason spot since 2001, Don Wakamatsu lost games at a stunning rate.

Then, the Mariners manager lost his team _ first franchise icon Ken Griffey Jr., then Chone Figgins.

Now, he’s lost his job.

The last-place Mariners fired Wakamatsu on Monday, more than halfway through a season that began with a boosted roster and high hopes.

“I would like to thank the city of Seattle and all the baseball fans here in the Northwest for the great support offered to me during my time as Mariners manager,” Wakamatsu said Monday night in statement released by the team. “My single biggest disappointment is that we were not able to finish what we wanted to finish here, bringing a championship club to the fans.

“I cannot tell you how great the fans were to me, and to my family. The support I received here will always mean a great deal to me.”

The Mariners started the day at 42-70, the second-worst record in the American League.

They started the night with their fifth manager in three years plus one month. Daren Brown, the manager of Triple-A Tacoma for the last four seasons, took over on an interim basis hours before a game against Oakland.

“It’s frustrating,” Mariners perennial All-Star and cornerstone Ichiro Suzuki said, through his interpreter. “It’s not just his responsibility (that we’re losing). It’s the whole team’s responsibility.

“I don’t think it’s fair to say the manager’s responsible to take the blame, because he’s not.”

Seattle also fired bench coach Ty Van Burkleo and pitching coach Rick Adair. The team also released performance coach Steve Hecht.

All to bring together a fractured clubhouse and a wayward team.

“The truth of the matter is, I lost confidence in Don, Ty and Rick,” Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik said during a press conference in which he tried to explain why Wakamatsu was out after one good season and about half a terrible one.

“New leadership is needed and it is needed now,” Zduriencik said.

The GM said he would likely begin talking to candidates for the permanent manager job while this season runs out.

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