Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 31

Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Friday, March 15, 2013 /  17 Days ‘til Opening Night (April 1 at Oakland) / 24 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Houston)

Game Recap (Day Version):
Julio Morban
went 2-for-3 with a pair of home runs and four RBI to lead the Seattle Mariners (13-7) to an 8-5 Cactus League victory over the Los Angeles Angels Friday afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd of 9,662 at Tempe Diablo Stadium. Morban hit a two-run home run to start the scoring in the top of the second inning, and added another two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning. Justin Smoak hit his third home run of the spring, and Michael Saunders and Raul Ibañez each hit doubles. Starting pitcher Jeremy Bonderman (2-0) earned the win allowing two runs over 4.0 innings. Relief pitchers Andrew Carraway (2.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R), Carson Smith (1.0 IP, K) and Bobby LaFromboise (1.0 IP, H, BB) turned in scoreless efforts out of the bullpen.

Game Recap (Night Version): Former Mariners player Wladimir Balentien collected 5 RBI to lead the Kingdom of the Netherlands WBC team to an 8-1 exhibition victory over the Mariners in the second game Friday night in Peoria. Seattle starter Jon Garland was charged with 5 runs in 3.o innings, but struck 7 Netheraland’s hitters. Dustin Ackley had two of Seattle’s four hits.

Listen and Learn (and Ask Some Questions):

Brad Miller split last season between High Desert (A) and Jackson (AA). He’s in big league camp as an invited (non-roster) player, and no one realistically expects him to make the team this year. He wasn’t among the guys traveling to Tempe today to take on the Angels but was hanging around the clubhouse long before the afternoon workout. What was he doing? Listening to Brendan Ryan, one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, talk on the finer points of choosing a glove, and on the position of your hand in the glove. This conversation wasn’t Fielding 101; this was graduate level stuff and Miller was soaking it in. It is was an example of exactly why teams bring young players into big league camp, and of exactly what young players should be taking advantage of.

Only in Arizona:
At 6:45 two fans pulled up in front of Peoria Stadium, trying to get to the parking lot by the Mariners offices. They were here to watch the game, but were stymied by a small (plastic) parking barrier. No problem. Felix Hernandez hopped out of the car and moved the barrier so his wife could pull by. Once she was by, he moved the barrier back and hopped back into the passenger seat, waving off offers of help from the Peoria staff.

Old Stomping Grounds:
The Mariners made their only trip to Tempe Diablo Stadium today to face the Angels (in front of a packed house). Tempe Diablo was of course the first training facility for the Mariners in the Cactus League from 1977-1993. Mariners Special Assistant to the GM Roger Hansen walked through the left field gate and onto the field when he arrived at the park, and said there were a lot of good memories from the many spring trainings spent in Tempe.

Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Blackjack:
Right fielder Julio Morban hit a tape-measure home run to right field in the second inning of the game vs. the Angels. It was Morban’s first home run of the spring as he became the 21st Mariners player to hit a longball in Cactus League play. He followed with a bomb to center field in the eighth inning.

Beware the Ides of March:
Today is the Ides of March (March 15). The Mariners made two rounds of cuts today, moving a total of 11 players out of big league camp. That means 17 players have been optioned or re-assigned since the end of the game yesterday, and big league camp is at 40 players. Still a ways to go to get to the final 25, but down substantially from the 61 players who were here a week ago.

In Memory:
Prior to tonight’s game vs. the Netherlands, there was a video tribute and a moment of silence in honor of former Mariners player, and Netherlands native, Greg Halman. Halman was killed at his home during the winter of 2011 at the age of 24.

Good Seats Still Available:
We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that single-game tickets go on sale at 10 AM TOMORROW, March 16. Get your seats early and lock in for Opening Night, Ken Griffey Jr. Hall of Fame night, or to see the opponent you’d must like to see the Mariners defeat. Tickets are available with no service charge at Safeco Field and Seattle Mariners team stores. Or, grab them on-line at www.mariners.com.

Fans waiting the start of 2013 on-sale.

Fans waiting the start of 2013 on-sale.

The Sweet Raspberry:
The Mariners battery in the eighth inning featured left-handed pitcher Bobby LaFromboise (French for raspberry) and Jesus Sucre (Spanish for sweet).

Tweet of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Tuesday, March 12):
Seattle returns to Cactus League play tomorrow with a road game vs. the Colorado Rockies at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale (Radio – 710 ESPN Seattle). Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (1-0, 0.00) is scheduled to make his fourth appearance and second spring start vs. Rockies right-hander Chris Volstad (0-0, 1.29).

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