Joe Mather has two weeks left to fend off guys like Tony Campana and Adrian Cardenas for the final bench job.
But he has made a strong impression on manager Dale Sveum and a coaching staff that includes Dave McKay, Mather's old first base/outfield coach for years in St. Louis.
``I think I've been able to put myself in a good position, at least to make the decision difficult for some people,'' said the versatile Mather, whose latest impression was made with a game-winning homer Sunday in Las Vegas against the Texas Rangers.
``There's a lot of good players in here, so I don't think anyone can take anything for granted,'' he said. ``All we an do is play well and put ourselves in position to make the team.''
Mather, 29, a .228 career hitter in the big leagues with nine homers, is trying to stick in the big leagues for a full season for the first time in a career.
He has hit well all spring, earned raves for his base-running ability and played five positions: first base, third base and all three outfield spots.
He's in the lineup Monday playing first base against the Seattle Mariners in Peoria, Ariz.
``I could probably play the middle if they needed me,'' said the kid who grew up a shortstop but whose coach/dad thought it wise from early on to teach the kid to play every position.
``I don't think I played the same position two years in a row since maybe middle school,'' said Mather, who has played six positions in the big leagues (including a two-inning appearance as a pitcher two years ago). ``My dad moved me around a lot. He said it would be a good idea. And I'm glad he did.''
Cactus League game vs. Seattle (in Peoria)
PITCHING: Travis Wood
`B' game vs. Cleveland (in Goodyear)
PITCHING: Randy Wells