Mariners Mini Camp Up And Running

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Mariners Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn was already impressed with the amount of athleticism he was saw with some of the minor league players, and that was just during physicals.

“Everyone came into Mini Camp in great shape and ready to play,” Gwynn said. “It was nice to finally get started today and see everyone in action.”

The Mariners have conducted a winter program for their minor league players for years, but this is the fourth year for a structured mini-camp that features 36 of the organizations top prospects that are not already in Major League camp. The players went through physicals yesterday, with the first workout today and running through March 1 at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Besides the basics on the field, Mini Camp players also focus on off-field instruction. From visiting local elementary schools and hospitals, players will also receive nutrition and etiquette tips.

Mini Camp is designed to take the best and brightest of the farm system, accelerate their Major League arrival and aid acclimation to what they will encounter when they get there.  Mini Camp is similar to instructional league in fall, but in the spring guys are fresh and what they learn can carry on into the season.

Nine players, including pitchers Brandon Maurer, Andrew Carraway, Jonathan Arias, Carson Smith, Carter Capps and Brian Moran, catcher John Hicks and infielders Brad Miller and Stefen Romero, each participated in Mini Camp last year and this year were invited  to Major League camp.

“Last year was my first time in Spring Training, so being able to get here a few weeks early and get accumulated during mini-camp was a huge help,” shortstop Brad Miller said. “The best part was being able to be a backup during the Major League games and getting to see how everyone prepared for a game.”

This year Miller came to camp looking to continue his success from his first full season in the minor leagues in 2012.

“It is awesome to have this opportunity in Major League camp,” Miller said. “Being able to chat with veteran players like Raul Ibañez and players that were in my position just a short time ago like Kyle Seager have been a huge influence on me so far.”

This is one of the youngest groups of prospects that has comprised Mini Camp with 18 of the 36 players either 20-years-old or younger, while 17 players were drafted or signed as a non-drafted free agent in 2012.  At 16-years-old left-handed pitcher Luiz Gohara, who was signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Brazil in 2012 is the youngest player in camp.

Among players taking part in the mini-camp are highly regarded prospects that include pitchers Edwin Diaz and Tyler Pike, catcher Tyler Marlette, infielders Joe DeCarlo and Timmy Lopes and outfielders Gabby Guerrero and Dario Pizzano. After being acquired last week from the New York Yankees in exchange for pitcher Shawn Kelley, outfielder Abraham Almonte has arrived in Peoria and is participating in Mini Camp as well.

Left-handed pitcher Elias Roenis, catchers Marcus Littlewood and Tyler Marlette, infielders Martin Peguero and Steven Proscia and outfielders Phillips Castillo and Guillermo Pimentel are each participating in their second mini-camp.

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