Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 42

Tuesday, March 26, 2013 /  6 Days ‘til Opening Night (April 1 at Oakland) / 13 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Houston)

Beautiful Peoria Stadium.

Beautiful Peoria Stadium.

Game Recap:
Michael Morse
was 3-for-4 and homered over the 40-foot hitters backdrop in straightaway center field, and Franklin Gutierrez was 2-for-4 with a double and a homer, but Seattle could not overcome a six-run KC fifth inning, and dropped an 11-6 decision to the Royals Tuesday at Peoria Stadium. Jeremy Bonderman (2-1) started and took the loss. He was very strong through the first four innings but was undone by wind and a couple of big hits as the Royals erased a 4-1 deficit with six runs in the fifth inning. Dustin Ackley finished 2-for-4 with an RBI on the day. The full box score and recap is available here.

The Big Show:
A familiar face showed up in a different place today, as former Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren dropped by camp. Coach Holmgren brought his grandchildren to the game today, but stopped by the clubhouse to chat with players and staff. Holmgren worked with Mariners visiting clubhouse manager Ted Walsh when both Holmgren and Walsh were with the San Francisco 49ers.

Gold’n Nuggets:
New Mariners radio voice Aaron Goldsmith checks in from the clubhouse:

If you’re reading this from Seattle, odds are you haven’t had a chance to see 22-year-old Brandon Maurer pitch this spring — but you’ve heard the hype. Monday in Goodyear, the right-hander worked five scoreless innings against the Reds to lower his earned run average to a Cactus League-best 0.90.

“It sounds generic, but what stands out the most about Brandon is that he competes,” said pitching coach Carl Willis. “His maturity is beyond his experience on the mound and he has four quality Major League pitches.”

Against the Reds, Maurer’s curveball looked especially sharp (a pitch that he said earlier in camp was one that he needed to be able to throw for a strike). At other times this spring, it’s been Maurer’s slider or changeup that has been his go-to secondary pitch.

While Willis or Eric Wedge may not be as surprised by Maurer’s success in Peoria, others would have more likely expected to be talking about one of the “Big  Three”: Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton. Although each are very talented and have a bright future, all are now pitching in minor league camp.

“We kind of had an idea that it was possible that Brandon could press the envelope a little bit and be in the position that he’s in,” said Willis. “It’s not that surprising.”

Glove Love:
Bullpen catcher Jason Phillips’ 12-year-old son (also Jason) has been in camp for the past week, following his dad around, working as a bat boy, and generally having the time of his life. Today while he was eating breakfast, Felix Hernandez walked in and dropped a shiny gold box on the table in front of him, said “for you” and walked out. Inside was a custom made baseball glove, inscribed to Felix to honor his perfect game last season. It is fair to say that young Jason was pretty excited about the gift.

Seems like it should count for more than one:
Michael Morse hit an epic home run in the bottom of the seventh inning, crushing a solo shot to center field OVER the 40-foot hitters backdrop. The base of that wall is more than 410-feet away. For most of the observers in the press box it was the first ball they’d ever seen hit over the backdrop.

Cy Young vs. Cy Younger:
Fans in Peoria can see a pretty epic pitching match-up tomorrow as Felix Hernandez, the 2010 American League Cy Young Award winner pitches for Seattle. The Dodgers will send Clayton Kershaw to the hill. Kershaw won the 2011 Cy Young Award in the National League.

Felix vs Kershaw

Pack it Up:
The Mariners offices are currently littered with packing boxes, tape guns, bubble wrap and multi colored labels. The last few days of spring are always a packing frenzy, but this year is more extreme than ever. In addition to getting all of the team gear back to Seattle or ready to go on the opening road trip, and all of the office stuff back to Seattle, with the Mariners Peoria offices being remodeled this year every piece of furniture, equipment and Spring Training material has to be boxed to be moved off site. By the end of the first week of April, demolition will begin on the Mariners current spring facility, making way for an expanded building that will be ready for Spring of 2014.

Sign Here Please:

Today was autograph day in Peoria Stadium. The Mariners roster, manager Eric Wedge and the coaching staff all came over to the ballpark 15 minutes early and spent the extra time signing autographs for early arriving fans.

Felix Hernandez signs pre-game.

Felix Hernandez signs pre-game.

Closing out Spring Training:
Spring Training is quickly drawing to a close. The Mariners final home game is tomorrow, Wednesday March 27, in Peoria Stadium, as Seattle hosts the Dodgers at 1:05 pm. On Thursday, Seattle travels to HoHoKam Stadium in Mesa to take on the Cubs at a special 12:05 start time. Friday the team will fly to Salt Lake, and the club plays its final exhibition game on Saturday, taking on the Colorado Rockies in Salt Lake City

Happy Birthday Brendan!:
Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan is celebrating his 31st birthday today..

2013-03-26 16.09.10Meanwhile, Back in Seattle:
A reminder that fans are invited to check out all the changes in Safeco Field, including Edgar’s Cantina, the expanded bullpen market and the unbelievable new scoreboard, at the free Open House on Monday, April 1. Doors open at 6 pm, and the Mariners first game of the season versus the A’s will be on the new board at 7 pm. Opening Night at home, always one of the great sporting events on the Seattle calendar, is April 8. Good seats are still available for every game in the first homestand, including Opening Night. Tickets are available with no service charge at Safeco Field and Seattle Mariners team stores. Or, grab them on-line at www.mariners.com.

Tweet of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Wednesday, March 27):
The Mariners play their final home game of the 2013 Spring Training season, hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers at Peoria Stadium at 1:05. The game will be broadcast on 710 ESPN Seattle and the Mariners radio network. In a match-up of former Cy Young Award winners, Felix Hernandez will start for Seattle, taking on Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers.

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