Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 17

Friday, March 1, 2013 / 31 Days ‘til Opening Night (April 1 at Oakland) / 38 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Houston)

The pop-up drill.

The pop-up drill.

Catcher Pop-Ups:
Following practice today, the Mariners catching group of Jesus Montero, Kelly Shoppach, Mike Zunino, John Hicks and Ronny Paulino went through pop-up practice. A pitching machine was set up on top of home plate, and balls were flung high into the Arizona sky to simulate pop-ups right behind home plate. For anyone that has watched this type of drill before, it is a lot more difficult than it looks. The guys did great though, and only a few touched the grass!

Game Recap:
The Mariners hit four home runs, giving them a MLB-high 18 this spring, in a 8-6 win over the Texas Rangers. It was Seattle’s seventh consecutive win. Carlos Peguero (#3), Michael Saunders (#2), Jason Bay (#2) and Michael Morse (#1) all went deep. Brendan Maurer (1-0) picked up the win in relief of James Paxton as Seattle ran young arms at the Rangers big-league line-up. You can view a full box score and recap on Mariners.com.

Quote of the Day:

“Where the hell is it?”

Mariners catching coordinator John Stearns looking for a pop-up in the high Arizona sky today. Stearns, a former 4-time NL All-Star, was running the drill for Mariners catchers and was goaded into jumping in for the final pop-up of the day.

Weather:
Make sure to bring your sunscreen with temperatures heating up in Peoria. Today highs were expected in the upper 70’s with low-80’s in the forecast all next week. Game time temperature was 71° at first pitch at the Peoria Sports Complex, and climbed as the day wore on.

Shannon Drayer, Rick Rizzs, Dave Sims and Greg Johns.

Shannon Drayer, Rick Rizzs, Dave Sims and Greg Johns.

Welcome to camp:
710 ESPN Seattle beat reporter Shannon Drayer officially arrived to camp today ready for duty. Shannon walked in the clubhouse this morning and was greeted by some new smiles. Luckily for her she also got warm welcomes from all the returning players, including Felix and Raul. Although she has been around camp the last few days and helped host the Cactus League Report on Monday. You can follow Shannon by listening to 710 ESPN in Seattle and also via her blog. Mariners TV broadcaster Dave Sims also arrived yesterday. Heading into his seventh season as part of the Mariners broadcast team, Sims is preparing for the first televised game on Monday. He will also join Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith for a few innings of today’s radio broadcast vs. the Rangers. Speaking of broadcasters, Mike Blowers will make his first appearance in Peoria tomorrow.

Guests in Camp:
Senior Baseball Columnist Jon Heyman of CBSSportsline.com and the MLB Network was in camp today and caught up with Manager Eric Wedge, Felix Hernandez and Jason Bay amongst others. Major League Baseball Players Association made their annual collecting signatures from players for their multiple charity endeavors. Started in 1996 the Major League Baseball Players Trust has raised over $13 million for thousands of disadvantaged people in hundreds of communities around the world.

That’s Not Charley:
Don Carson, owner of the landmark baseball restaurant Don & Charlie’s in Scottsdale, Arizona, was a visitor in camp today. Don, a Peoria Stadium season ticket holder, makes his way to many of the camps in the valley to check in with his many, many friends in the game. Don & Charlie’s  is a must stop for all fans who love the baseball. In addition to an amazing collection of signed memorabilia which is displayed throughout the restaurant, D&C has a who’s who of baseball dining nightly. Players, managers, coaches, announcers, front office staff and MLB brass all dine there, so you never know who you’ll run into. And above all, the food is great.

Debating the coleslaw choices at D&C.

Debating the coleslaw choices at D&C.

Preparing for Minor League Camp:
With the conclusion of Mini Camp, the focus of the Player Development staff now shifts to preparing for Minor League Spring Training Camp. From Coordinators to coaches to trainers all 60 minor league staff member have reported to Peoria and will begin meeting tonight. Director of Players Development Chris Gwynn and Field Coordinator Jack Howell will go lead the three-day meetings that consist of going over expectations, drills and development plans. 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. The Mariners will have approximately 160 minor league players in camp.

Rated as one of the best Minor League Farm systems in baseball, the Mariners are looking to continue to improve upon their success in 2012. Last year the Mariners nine minor league affiliates put together one of the best seasons in club history, combining for a 496-406 (.550) record. The organization led all Major League farm systems in wins (496) and winning percentage (.550). The Mariners 496 organizational wins also set a new record for most wins in a single season by any Major League farm system.

Mariners make TV debut on Monday:
ROOT Sports
will televise 6 Cactus League games this spring, beginning with Monday’s game (March 4, 1:05 pm MT/12:05 PT) vs. Colorado. Additional TV games this spring include: March 17 vs. Texas (1:05 pm), March 19 vs. San Francisco (7:05 pm), March 21 vs. Chicago-NL (7:05 pm), March 23 vs. Cleveland (1:05 pm), March 30 vs. Colorado (12:05 pm).

Tweet of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Saturday, March 2):
The Mariners will play their second straight home game tomorrow (after three in a row on the road), hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma is scheduled to start on the mound for Seattle vs. Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano.

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