Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 28
Tuesday, March 12, 2013 / 20 Days ‘til Opening Night (April 1 at Oakland) / 27 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Houston)
The Mariners fell behind early and could not catch up, losing to the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-4 in front of 7,015 fans at Peoria Stadium. Felix Hernandez took the loss in his second start of the spring despite allowing only one hit, a one-out solo home run to Eric Hinske in the top of the second inning. Felix threw 38 pitches, 27 strikes, to 11 batters over 3.0 innings. Offensively Brad Miller led the team going 2-for-4 with a double and home run. Here is a box score from MLB.com.
It a subtle gesture that went unrecognized in the clubhouse, but shortly after Michael Saunders walked through the clubhouse doors as he return to Mariners camp, Jason Bay went over to him and gave him a congratulatory handshake. Saunders just wrapped up his impressive play in the World Baseball Classic in which he was named the MVP of Pool D (Italy, USA, Canada, Mexico) by batting .727 (8×11) with four extra base hits and seven RBI. The handshake was a proud moment for Bay, who has long been viewed as one of the top Canadian baseball players, ranking 3rd all-time with 211 home runs. Bay is no stranger to WBC play combining to bat .467 (7×15) in 2006 and 2009, but opted not to play this year to get healthy and, in his own words, let the young guys take over. Saunders did a little more than that. You can watch below the interview Michael gave after being named the MVP of the WBC event in Phoenix:
Pine Tar Anyone?:
There may have been an APB sent out for some pine tar in the bottom of the third and top of the fourth innings in today’s game. Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan threw a bat not once, but twice, during his at-bat in the third inning, one landing in the crowd (luckily not injuring anyone) and another into the Mariners dugout (he eventually grounded out to third base). And then Dbacks right-fielder A.J. Pollock led off the fourth inning having his bat slip out of his hands.
Bay Batting Leadoff:
It is not often a 10-year Major League veteran can say that today was a first, but for Jason Bay, today was the first time he has ever hit leadoff. We not able to scour college, minor league, spring training box scores, but in 2,210 Major League games, Bay had never hit leadoff. Bay’s .500 on-base percentage in seven Cactus League games leading up to today’s game may have been one reason.
Felix Hernandez made his second Cactus League start and was dominating, despite suffering the loss. Felix allowed only one hit (HR to Eric Hinske) and struck out three in 3.0 innings (38 pitches, 27 strikes). He was so efficient that he went down to the Mariners bullpen after exiting the game and threw 15 more pitches to work on pitching out of the stretch. He proclaimed himself to be feeling “great” and “right on track”.
After he met with the normal group of beat writers, Felix Hernandez sat down for 10 minutes with Hazel Mae of Sportsnet Canada (basically the Canadian version of ESPN) for their 2-hour MLB Preview Show that will feature interviews with baseball’s award winners, high profile figures and players who made headlines this off-season.
King’s Court (Peoria Style):
About 50 fans donned the familiar yellow shirt and waved their “K” cards in the left field bleachers for Felix Hernandez’s first Peoria Stadium start of the spring. A tradition that started in 2011 for each of Felix’s home starts, the group of fans made Felix right at home. When he was asked about it by reporters following the game, Felix said “it was awesome.”
Kingdom of the Netherlands:
The Netherlands World Baseball Classic team was scheduled to arrive in Peoria tonight, and will work out tomorrow on Mariners Field #2. The club, which features Mariners minor leaguer Kalian Sams, will play the Padres Thursday and Mariners Friday (both night games) in exhibition games. The Netherlands has already advanced to the Championship Round and will play the Pool 2 winner on Monday, March 18 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Fight, Fight, Fight for Washington State:
A group of Cougar legends (of the Public Relations/Sports Information world at least), including longtime SID’s Rod Commons and Dick Fry, and Pat Caraher and Tim Marsh, stopped by the Mariners offices post-game today. The group is in town to take in spring training games and watch the Cougars take on nationally-ranked Arizona State this weekend at Packard Stadium in Tempe.
What’s on Tap:
The Mariners (11-6) look to get back on the winning track tomorrow with an afternoon game against the red-hot Kansas City Royals (13-2-1) at Surprise Stadium (1:05 pm). The game will be broadcast LIVE on ESPN 710 Seattle and the Mariners Radio Network. Right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma (1-0, 1.50) is scheduled to make his fourth spring appearance (3rd start) against Royals right-hander Ervin Santana (0-0, 1.80).