Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 14

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 /  34 Days ‘til Opening Night (April 1 at Oakland) / 41 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Houston)

Maryvale Baseball Park.

Maryvale Baseball Park.

Morning Workout:
The team had an actual road game (as compared to visiting the Padres) today, so the AM schedule was slightly different. The team took the field at 9 AM (instead of 9:30), did a team fundamental from 9:25-9:45, and then took batting practice from 9:45-10:45. After a break for lunch and a change of gear, the club loaded up the bus and was on the road at 11:30 AM.

I Remember When:
Alvin Davis, who is working in the Mariners minor league system and assisting in big league camp, and Rick Rizzs were chatting behind the batting cage today. Alvin noted that Nick Franklin was wearing #61, the number Alvin had in his first big league camp in 1984. Alvin had a great Spring in 1984, but started the season at AAA Salt Lake, where he remained for all of one game (“I think I was 2-for-3 with a couple of singles”) before being called up when Ken Phelps was injured. Alvin, wearing his now iconic #21 jersey in the Majors, went on to be AL Rookie of the Year in 1984. “When I got the call I thought they were just hazing the rookie,” Alvin said. “I couldn’t believe I was going up.” Alvin was a key part of the Mariners AA club in 1983. The ’83 Chattanooga team had an astonishing 13 players make it to the big leagues, many of whom had substantial careers. The list included: Davis, Ivan Calderon, Darnell Coles, Danny Tartabull, Jim Presley, Dave Valle, Mario Diaz, Paul Serna, John Sutton and pitchers Mark Langston (the Rookie Pitcher of the Year in 1984), Scott Nielsen and John Sutton. “We had our whole starting infield, our catcher, our #1 pitcher an outfielder all have long careers, and several other guys made it up,” Alvin said. “Our team was stacked, but the whole Southern League was stacked that year.”

Rick Rizzs talking to Mr. Mariner, Alvin Davis.

Rick Rizzs talking to Mr. Mariner, Alvin Davis.

Team Italy:
Team Italy is play exhibition games against the Mariners Mini Camp participants today and tomorrow on Field 6 at the Peoria Sports Complex. Infielder Alex Liddi, who is on the Team Italy WBC roster, did not participate in today’s exhibition game. He will stay in the Mariners camp until he reports for the WBC on March 4. Team Italy will stay in Phoenix for Pool D play, which has the United States, Canada, and Mexico squaring off at Salt River Fields and Chase Field March 7-10. Liddi also played for Italy in the 2009 WBC, batting .375 (3-for-8) with a double and two RBI in two games.

WBC Power:
The Mariners have three players participating in the World Baseball Classic this spring, outfielder Michael Saunders (Canada), infielder Alex Liddi (Italy) and pitcher Oliver Perez (Mexico). Liddi hit a long home run Monday in Peoria, and Saunders hit a bomb today in Maryvale.

Future’s So Bright (You Gotta Wear Shades):
An imposing black semi-truck appeared in the back side of the Mariners parking lot today. The Oakley sunglasses company has a store-on-wheels that is making its way from Major League Camp to Major League Camp. It will stop and spend a day at all 30 camps, 15 in Arizona and 15 in Florida. Players, staff and guests were able to check out glasses, merchandise and clothing.

The Oakley store on wheels.

The Oakley store on wheels.

Game Recap:
Trailing 4-3 with two outs and nobody on base in the eighth inning, the Mariners scored three quick runs on a combination of patience and power to claim their second consecutive come-from-behind win by a 6-5 final over the Milwaukee Brewers in front of 1,732 at Maryvale Baseball Park in Cactus League play. Seattle has now won four straight overall. With two outs and facing Milwaukee closer John Axford, Eric Thames walked, then came home on a game-tying double off the bat of left fielder Carlos Peguero. Justin Smoak followed with a two-run homer to give the Mariners a 6-4 lead. The blast to right field was Smoak’s second homer of the spring. He’s batting .556 (5-for-9) with a double, 2 HR and 4 RBI in his first three games. Franklin Gutierrez (#1) and Michael Saunders (#1) hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the third. The Mariners collected 10 hits, including three homers and two doubles, and now has a combined 50 hits (23 extra base hits) during their current four-game winning streak. Carson Smith (1-0) picked up the win with a shutout inning, and Danny Farquar notched his first save with an impressive 1-2-3 ninth that featured two strikeouts.

Radio Tomorrow:
Just a reminder, just like today the Mariners return to the airways tomorrow on a tape-delay basis, starting at 7 PM (PT) on 710 ESPN Seattle. All games, including tomorrow, that are tape delayed are available LIVE and free of charge, online via Mariners.com.

Weather:
Another clear day with the temperatures beginning to creep up. First pitch in Maryvale was announced at 64 degrees and the wind which had been blowing the past three days finally calmed today.

Tweet of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“I’m just trying to hit the ball hard somewhere.”
– Justin Smoak when asked about his hot start (two homers, two doubles) at the plate this spring.

On Tap Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 27):
The Mariners play the second of three straight road games, travelling to Goodyear, AZ, to take on the Cleveland Indians. The game will be broadcast in the Seattle area on 710 ESPN Seattle and the Mariners Radio Network, delayed to 7 pm (PT); it is available live and free of charge online via Mariners.com. Left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen is scheduled to start for the Mariners against Cleveland right-hander Brett Myers.

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