Notebook: Edgar goes the extra mile to meet Bush

Usually when someone wants to meet a renowned major-league ballplayer, they must go to the player, often with a crowd of others. But when President George W. Bush asked to meet Edgar Martinez yesterday, the Mariners' all-timer went to Boeing Field for the get-together.

"Chuck (Armstrong, team president) told me the president wanted to meet me," Martinez said. "I was there when his plane landed about 3:20, and Chuck introduced me to him. He congratulated me for my retirement, and we talked for about two minutes."

Bush, in town for a fund-raiser in Medina, talked baseball with first-hand knowledge as former owner of the Texas Rangers.

"He told me about all the years I beat on the Rangers," Martinez said, smiling. "He said, 'You guys killed the Rangers.' He talked about what the Rangers are going through, needing pitching."

Martinez called it "a neat experience, especially since I met his dad in 1992 at the All-Star Game in San Diego."

The two men exchanged signed baseballs and posed for a picture. "I hope they remember to send me that photo," Martinez said. "I would like that."

Ailing A-Rod sits

"Don't come near me, I'm ill," Alex Rodriguez said before the Yankees went out for pregame work. Sure enough, A-Rod was scratched from the starting lineup with the flu. But otherwise, things are good.

"Everything's good," said Rodriguez, mentioning his wife, Cynthia, is due to deliver a baby girl in late November.

As for the Mariners ...

"I guess I'm like everyone else, I'm shocked to see the Mariners struggle like this," Rodriguez said. "I hate to see Edgar go; he's one of the game's all-time great people."

The numbers department

The Mariners took a season attendance total of 1,973,407 into last night, then drew 46,359, the sixth sellout of the season, to surpass 2 million for the ninth straight year and 11th overall. Tomorrow, they project to reach the 50 million mark in franchise history.

Former Mariner John Olerud did not start because the Yankees' other first baseman, Tony Clark, was 5 for 9 lifetime with two homers against Seattle starter Ron Villone.

Martinez has 306 homers, one shy of tying Jay Buhner for second on Seattle's all-time list. Ken Griffey Jr. is first with 398. A-Rod is fourth with 189, and Alvin Davis has 160.

Record weighs on Franklin

Although Ryan Franklin was 11-13 last year, he was regarded as better than that, with his 3.57 earned-run average ninth-best in the American League. But this year, he has matched a 3-11 record with a 5.13 ERA, and Franklin's emotions are taking a beating, too.

After the 6-3 loss to the Twins on Thursday, he was unusually down.

"These have been a rough couple of years win-loss, and that kind of stuff kind of keeps eating at you," Franklin said. "I do my focus exercises every day, I stay mentally strong. But this has been tough.

"I know I'm not a 1-2 starter, but I'd like to think I can compete with any 3-4-5 in the league and keep my team in almost every game.

"I have 10 more starts to get where I need to be to go positive into the postseason."