Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 16

The view from the Scottsdale Stadium press box.

The Mariners won their sixth straight game, 4-3 over the Giants.

Thursday, February 28, 2013 / 32 Days ‘til Opening Night (April 1 at Oakland) / 39 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Houston)

Mariners Win Sixth Straight:
The Mariners continued their impressive play recording their sixth consecutive win with a 4-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Scottsdale. Justin Smoak went 2-for-3 with a double and RBI, and is now batting .583 this spring (7×12, 2 HR, 2 2B), and Franklin Gutierrez and Nick Franklin each hit home runs. Starting pitcher Jon Garland (1-0) earned the win throwing a scoreless inning in his return to the mound. You can view a full box score and recap on Mariners.com. And here are some video highlights from the game via MLB.com.

Winning Streak:
After dropping the Cactus League opener Feb. 22 vs. the Padres, the Mariners have rattled off six straight victories. This matches the longest Cactus League win streak for Seattle since a 6-gamer back in 2004. We’ll have to dig through our spring binder to identify the last 7-game win streak, which we hope to have in tomorrow’s edition of the game notes.

Justin Smoak continued his hot spring with two more hits today. (AP/Jose Sanchez)

Justin Smoak continued his hot spring with two more hits today vs. the Giants. (AP/Jose Sanchez)

Felix Faces Live Batters:
Minor league players James Jones, Mike Dowd, Gabby Guerrero and Ji-Man Choi weren’t expecting to face Major League pitching as part of their Mini Camp schedule today, but that is exactly what happened when they got the call that Felix Hernandez needed players to throw live batting practice against. Facing two right-handed batters and two left-handed batters, Felix threw 32 pitches in 10 minutes in his first live BP session at 11 am this morning on Field 2 at the Peoria Sports Complex. He worked in all of this pitches and said he felt great afterwards.

Felix says he is ready to pitch in a Spring Training game, but will let Pitching Coach Carl Willis make that decision. According to Willis the plan is to have Hernandez throw another live BP session on Sunday or Monday, then make his Cactus League debut late next week.

Felix talked to the local media contingent before signing autographs and taking pictures with the 30+ fans that showed up to watch him throw his first live BP.

Felix Hernandez threw to live batters for the first time yesterday. (Greg Johns/Mariners.com)

Felix Hernandez threw to live batters for the first time yesterday. (Greg Johns/Mariners.com)

You Can Still Listen:
If you didn’t get a chance to follow the game online today at Mariners.com, you can listen to a replay of the game tonight at 7 p.m. PT on 710 ESPN Seattle. Tune in and listen to Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith call the home runs by The Franklins (Nick Franklin & Franklin Gutierrez), and another solid day at the plate by Justin Smoak.

Show and Go:
Today was a “show-and-go” day for players and coaches in Mariners camp. Usually players are in the clubhouse around 7-7:30 am getting ready for the day, but manager Eric Wedge gave the guys a small break today. Players traveling to Scottsdale were just expected to show up and jump on the team bus, and stretched at Scottsdale Stadium The remaining players not on the travel list remained in Peoria for a light workout.

Welcome Back Jon:
It may have just been a Cactus League game, but for starting pitcher Jon Garland today was a big day. The veteran right-hander threw a scoreless inning against the Giants (and earned the win), his first time pitching in a game since injuring his shoulder midway through the 2011 season while playing with the Dodgers. A true pro, listen here as Garland met with the media after his start, and talked about getting back on the mound and how he felt pitching today.

Jon Garland returned to the mound today vs. the Giants and threw a scoreless inning. (AP/Jose Sanchez)

Jon Garland returned to the mound today vs. the Giants and threw a scoreless inning. (AP/Jose Sanchez)

Weather:
Temperature at game time in Scottsdale was announced at 62° and continued to climb as the day wore on. The forecast for the next few days shows a lot of sun, with temperatures in the high 70’s and low 80’s. It is really starting to feel like spring training!

Tweet of the Day:

Been Here Before:
Bench Coach Robby Thompson is no stranger to Scottsdale Stadium, spending all but one spring training of his lengthy professional career training with the Giants in Old Town Scottsdale. Thompson was all smiles as he visited with several old friends during pre-game, including Giants pitching coach and his former teammate Dave Righetti.

Mini Camp Wrap Up:
The 37 top minor league prospects, that are not already in Major League camp, wrapped up their two-week Mini Camp today. Mariners Director of Minor League Operations Chris Gwynn reported that all the guys came out and worked extremely hard on all aspects of their individuals games and have set goals to work on the rest of Spring Training and into the regular season. Players participating in Mini Camp will get a short break before the rest of the minor league pitchers and catchers report on March 3 with structured workouts beginning on March 5. Minor League position players will report on March 8 with full workouts on March 10. Until minor league camp officially opens players will still be working out in the mornings and hitting in the cages.

On Tap Tomorrow (Friday, March 1):
The Mariners return home to Peoria Stadium to host the Texas Rangers at 1:05 pm MT/12:05 pm PT. Left-hander James Paxton (0-0, 0.00) will make his second appearance (first start) against Rangers right-hander Randy Wells.

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