Rickey Henderson is 68 runs shy of Ty Cobb's major league record (2,245).
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) -- Lou Piniella tried to talk general manager Pat Gillick into bringing back Rickey Henderson to the Seattle Mariners. Gillick said no.
"We talked about it seriously," the Mariners manager said Thursday. "I asked. But we have five veteran outfielders and (Anthony) Sanders to look at. It was tough here."
Henderson, 42, helped the Mariners get into the AL Championship Series last season after being released by the New York Mets. The Mariners decided not to bring him back for 2001 and he remains an unsigned free agent this spring.
Henderson is 86 hits shy of 3,000 hits. he's three walks short of breaking Babe Ruth's career mark of 2,062 walks and needs to score 68 runs to break Ty Cobb's major league record of 2,245 runs.
"Yeah, I am surprised," Piniella said when asked about Henderson's unemployed status. "I thought somebody would pick him up. If somebody would call me and ask me, I would encourage it."
But, Piniella said, no team has phoned him and asked about Henderson, who hit .238 with four home runs and 30 RBIs in 92 games for the Mariners.
Piniella said Gillick wanted to bring Henderson back for this season, too, but couldn't because of the Mariners' surplus of outfielders.
"After the season and during the winter, Pat and I had a nice discussion," he said. "Pat was of the same opinion. The problem is you can see our outfielders. That's where we've got more depth than any place else."
The Mariners have Mike Cameron, Al Martin, Ichiro Susuki, Jay Buhner and Stan Javier in the outfield, and Sanders is fighting for an outfield job.