Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 38

Felix Hernandez turned in a dominating performance. (AP Photo)

Felix Hernandez turned in a dominating performance. (AP Photo)

Friday, March 22, 2013 / 10 Days ‘til Opening Night (April 1 at Oakland) / 17 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Houston)

Game Recap:
Felix Hernandez
struck out 9 batters in 6.0 scoreless innings, including 6 straight at one point, and minor league shortstop Chris Taylor hit a go-ahead two-run single in the 8th inning to lift the Mariners to a 3-1 win over the Padres. Felix retired the last 13 batters he faced in a dominating Cactus League start. Catcher Kelly Shoppach hit his first home run to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead, becoming the 22nd Mariner to hit a homer this spring. The Mariners improved to 18-8 with the win, tying for the third-most spring wins in club history. Here is a box score from MLB.com.

Kelly Shoppach rounds the bases after his first Cactus League homer. (AP Photo)

Kelly Shoppach rounds the bases after his first Cactus League homer. (AP Photo)

Happy Birthday Michael:
Outfielder Michael Morse celebrated his 31st birthday today.

King Felix:
Felix Hernandez turned in a solid start tonight vs the Padres, allowing just two hits in 6.0 scoreless innings. Felix struck out nine batters, and did not walk a Padre in his third Cactus League start. After allowing a pair of hits in the second inning, he retired the final 13 batters he faced.

He Looks Ready:
Felix Hernandez will be the Mariners Opening Day starter April 1 vs. the Oakland A’s. If all goes as planned, this will be King Felix’s sixth career Opening Day start (2007, 2009-2012), which will tie Randy Johnson for the club record. Felix is 3-0, 1.59 ERA (7 ER, 39.2 IP) with 33 strikeouts in his five career Opening Day starts. LHP Brett Anderson will start for the A’s.

End of the Night Games:
The Mariners played their third straight night game, and the fourth of the spring, tonight. The remaining six Cactus League games and one exhibition game vs. the Rockies, will all be day games. And all seven remaining games will air live on the radio, with tomorrow’s game and the exhibition game March 30 televised by ROOT Sports.

Tweet of the Day:

‘Gold’en Nugget:
Mariners broadcaster Aaron Goldsmith will become a more frequent contributor to the blog, and today he shares some tidbits he has learned about Kyle Seager’s swing.

If you take a look at Kyle Seager’s swing today compared to a year ago, you’ll notice two major differences. Seager, who is the first to say that his swing evolved over the course of last season, got a tip from first base coach Mike Brumley.

“He came to me one day and suggested I start with the bat resting on my shoulder.” Prior to that suggestion, Seager’s stance involved bobbing the bat above his back shoulder. “By resting the bat, it allows me to start my swing from the same place every time, making it more repeatable.”

Seager also changed what he does with his leading leg. He now takes a softer front step, compared to hiking his foot inches off the ground before each swing. Seager said that these two changes “make my swing more compact and make me quicker to the ball.”

With these changes in place by the end of last season, the Mariners third baseman hit a season-best .296 in September with a .472 slugging percentage. It will be exciting to see how these adjustments, combined with a successful full season under his belt, carry over in to 2013.

A look at Kyle Seager's setup at the plate.

A look at Kyle Seager’s setup at the plate.

Arthur Lee Rhodes:
A day after Kenji Johjima visited camp, the Mariners had another surprise visit today in Peoria. This time longtime left-handed relief pitcher Arthur Rhodes stopped by to say hi to some old teammates (Morse, Ibañez, Felix) and front office staff. Rhodes had a 20-season Major League career with nine different teams including five seasons with the Mariners (2000-03 & 2008). He still ranks third in club history with 312 relief appearances.

One Week From Today:
Hard to believe this is already the 38th day of spring training, and in exactly one week, the team will have broken camp and left Arizona for their exhibition game vs. the Rockies in Salt Lake City.

Photo of the Day:
MLB.com datacaster Patrick Lagreid (and former KOMO employee) provided this photo of the day.

Peoria Stadium

Peoria Stadium

What’s on Tap:
The Mariners (18-8) continue Cactus League play tomorrow hosting the Cleveland Indians in an afternoon game at Peoria Stadium. Right-hander Blake Beavan (1-0, 3.86) will make his fourth spring starts (5th appearance) against Indians left-hander Scott Kazmir (0-0, 0.00). The game will be televised on ROOT Sports and broadcast by 710 ESPN Seattle and the Mariners Radio Network. The game will also be televised by MLB Network (subject to blackout in local areas, check your local listings).

Instagram photo of King Felix waiting to take the mound. (@peoriasportscom)

Instagram photo of King Felix waiting to take the mound. (@peoriasportscom)

1 Comment

Carter Capps was awesome tonight!

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