Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 1

Mariners players going through stretching drills o the first day of 2013 Spring Training. (Associated Press)

Mariners players going through stretching drills on the first day of 2013 Spring Training. (Associated Press)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 / 9 Days ‘til Cactus League Opener (Feb. 22 vs. San Diego) / 47 Days ‘til Opening Night (April 1 at Oakland) / 54 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Houston)

Busy Day in Seattle with King Felix:
It was a special day back in Seattle as Felix Hernandez officially signed his seven-year contract extension making him a Mariner through the 2019 season. Those that get to be around Felix as much as we do not only know how great of a pitcher he is, but how equally great of a person he is. He treats us all the same, from the clubhouse staff to the PR staff, to his teammates, and we couldn’t be more proud to keep him in the family for at least seven more seasons. We included several photos from his news conference in Seattle, including the below photo when he was greeted by members of our front office after coming off the elevators. And here is the official news release that went out to the media this afternoon.

Felix Hernandez is greeted by members of the Mariners Front Office prior to his news conference.

Felix Hernandez is greeted by members of the Mariners Front Office prior to his news conference.

And you can view highlights from the news conference that took place at Safeco Field today in the below video (about as awesome as it gets in my mind):

Getting on the Field:
It was the day that we wait for all winter, when Pitchers and Catchers (along with several position players) took to the back field at the Peoria Sports Complex for the first official day of Spring Training. Pitchers ran through PFP drills (Pitchers Fielding their Position), catchers caught bullpens and coaches roamed all the fields. A total of 16 pitchers threw their first bullpens of the spring, including newcomers Jon Garland and Kameron Loe, and Washington native Jeremy Bonderman.

After a 20-minute meeting in the clubhouse, the players hit the fields around 9:30 am and were kept busy until almost noon. This will be the normal routine for the next week until the first Cactus League game is played on Feb. 22 vs. the Padres.

Manager Eric Wedge talked about the first day of workouts and the signing of Felix Hernandez:

And catcher Kelly Shoppach talked about his first day as a Mariner:

Well, the time has come where you may not want to read the weather section of this blog. Because today was “Bottle-it-up” perfect in my mind. Blue skies, sunny, and just a little crisp in the morning. Temperatures were in the mid 60’s for most of the day. We keep hearing that 70-degrees should be waiting for us this weekend!

It was nearly a perfect day as the Mariners took the field for the first time in 2013.

It was nearly a perfect day as the Mariners took the field for the first time in 2013.

Another Roster Move:
The Mariners acquired minor league outfielder Abraham Almonte from the New York Yankees today in exchange for right-handed relief pitcher Shawn Kelley. Kelley was designated for assignment when Kelly Shoppach was signed as a free agent.

Almonte, 23, spent last season primarily with Double-A Trenton in the Yankees organization. He hit .276 (88×319) with 47 runs scored, 17 doubles, 4 triples, 4 home runs, 25 RBI and 30 stolen bases in 78 games. The 5-9, 205-pound switch hitter was named an Eastern League midseason All-Star and ranked 5th in the EL in stolen bases (30-for-350. He also appeared in 7 games with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Yankees.

Tweet of the Day:

Quote of the Day:

“The quality and talent level of our pitching staff, from top to bottom, is solid. I can’t really put words to how far that has come. The depth of this group will create a lot of competition, especially for the No. 4 and No. 5 spots in the rotation. It is our job as coaches to evaluate and make the best decisions. But I am really excited to see these guys take the mound.”
– Pitching Coach Carl Willis

North Carolina vs. Duke:
Besides being the busy day with the first day of on-field workouts, it was a stressful day for Pitching Coach Carl Willis. Willis is probably one of the bigger University of North Carolina basketball fans that I’ve ever met, and I witnessed him personally act like a little kid when he met Tar Heel legend George Karl. At time of this blog posting the Tar Heels trailed Duke by 5 points, so hoping this turns around. Somewhere Kevin Millwood (huge Duke fan) is probably texting Carl to torment him.

Happy Birthday Julio:
Outfielder Julio Morban turned 21 today and was all smiles when manager Eric Wedge found him in the clubhouse to wish him a Happy Birthday.

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 14):
Tomorrow will be a pretty similar day in terms of timing, with the team taking the field at 9:30 am for stretch (on Field #3). A total of 15 pitchers are scheduled to have bullpen sessions, and this group will be fun to watch: Charlie Furbush, Josh Kinney, Erasmo Ramirez, Joe Saunders and Tom Wilhelmsen. Top prospects Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, Brandon Maurer and James Paxton are also scheduled to get some extended mound time in.

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