Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 2

Mariners Spring Training Update

Thursday, February 13, 2014 / 46 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 54 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels)

Setting the Scene:
The Mariners pitchers and catchers took the field this morning at 9:30 am for the team’s first official workout. The Mariners had 41 of their 43 pitchers and catchers available during the workout. Pitcher Ramon Ramirez and catcher Manuel Pina will arrive late to camp because of problems with their visa applications, but are expected to be here soon. Players stretched and played catch before separating into groups to work on the fundamentals including PFP (Pitchers Fielding Practice). The pitching staff had three bullpen sessions that included pitchers Blake Beavan, Joe Beimel, Lucas Luetge, Erasmo Ramirez, Tom Wilhelmsen, Scott Baker, Andrew Carraway, Logan Kensing, Matt Palmer, Chance Ruffin, Anthony Fernandez, James Gilheeney, Nick Hill and Dominic Leone.

Scott Baker

Scott Baker throwing his first bullpen with the Mariners to catcher Mike Zunino.

It’s definitely baseball weather in Peoria. For the second day in a row the temperatures were in the low-to-mid 80’s. Everyone definitely needed extra sunscreen today. The forecast is calling for warmer weather with temps possible reaching 90 this weekend.

Weather photo

Three New Signings:
Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today that the club has signed right-handed pitcher Fernando Rodney to a two-year contract through the 2015. Rodney, 36, has been one of the more dependent relief pitchers in the American League over the last five seasons, ranking 2nd amongst relievers in saves and ERA and 3rd in appearances over that stretch. The team also announced the signs of LHP Randy Wolf and RHP Zach Miner to minor league contracts. Wolf, 37, did not pitch last season, recovering from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow performed Oct. 30, 2012 by Dr. Lewis Yocum. In his career he has logged seven seasons with 30-or-more starts (last: 33 in 2011) and six seasons with 200-or-more innings pitched (last: 212.1 IP in 2011). Over a three-season stretch from 2009-2011 with the Dodgers and Brewers, Wolf combined to go 37-29 with a 3.70 ERA, while logging at least 200.0 innings and 30 starts in each season. Miner, 31 (turns 32 March 12), spent last season in the Philadelphia Phillies system, appearing in 27 games (12 starts) for AAA Lehigh Valley and 16 games (3 starts) for the Phillies. It was his first Major League action since 2009 when he appeared in a career-high 51 games (5 starts) with the Detroit Tigers. All three players participated in today’s workouts.

Rodney has 85 saves over the past two seasons with the Rays.

Rodney has 85 saves over the past two seasons with the Rays.

Unexpected News of the Day:

Outfielder Franklin Gutierrez has informed the club that he will not be reporting to spring training, and does not plan to play Major League Baseball during the 2014 season. Gutierrez told the team that he has suffered a relapse of many of the symptoms he struggled with last spring, and does not believe it is fair to the team to come to camp if he is unable to compete due to health reasons. Instead he will spend the upcoming season focusing on getting fully healthy. As a result of these conversations, Gutierrez has been placed on the restricted list, and removed from the Mariners 40-man roster. Gutierrez, 30, re-signed with the Mariners as a free agent on Dec. 18, 2013, agreeing to a one-year contract. He batted .248 with 7 doubles and 10 home runs in 41 games with Seattle last season. He missed 106 games in two DL stints with a strained right hamstring, April 23-June 21 & June 25-Aug. 25. He reached double-digits in home runs (10) for the first time since 2010, despite appearing in only 41 games. He averaged 14.50 at-bats per home run, the 6th-best ratio in the Majors by players who hit 10 or more home runs.  He appeared in 478 games for the Mariners from 2009-2013. He battled injuries over the last three seasons appearing in only 173 of 486 team games, making 6 separate trips to the disabled list. He was a Gold Glove winner in 2010.

Franklin Gutierrez is playing for the Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League. (Getty Images)

Franklin Gutierrez making a diving catch in the outfield.

Green Screen:

Members of the Mariners Marketing Department, including Michael Ferguson, Ben Mertens, Olav Nossum and Chase Decker, were busy shuttling players over the auxiliary clubhouse at Peoria Stadium to shoot video for the scoreboard at Safeco Field. They have new in-game features they plan on unveiling this year. Logan Morrison was the first player to participate and was already excited to see the finishing product in his first game at Safeco Field.

Mariners open state-of-the-art facility in Dominican Republic:

The Mariners officially opened their new baseball academy in Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic today. Mariners President & Chief Operating Officer Kevin Mather, Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik, Player Development Director Chris Gwynn and other staff participated to the grand opening. The academy is located on 24 acres and will be a residential facility where prospects will live, work out, attend school and develop their baseball skills as they prepare athletically and culturally for baseball careers in the United States. The facility will also include three full-sized fields and one practice field, agility field, covered batting cages, bullpens with six pitchers mounds, dormitory space for up to 80 top prospects, a dining hall, classrooms for English language and Spanish literacy instruction and a computer lab. Mariners infielder Robinson Cano and outfielder Abraham Almonte were on hand for the ceremonies as well and took batting practice in the cages at the new complex.

Tweet of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 14):
Happy early Valentine’s Day. Pitchers and catchers will hit the field for day 2 at 9:30 am (Arizona time) on Friday morning.

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