Spring Training Update – Day 4

Mariners Spring Training Update

Saturday, February 15, 2014 / 44 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 52 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels).

Day 4

Day 4 of Pitchers and Catchers

Setting the Scene:
Today marked the third day with pitchers and catchers on the field at the Peoria Sports Complex.

Pitchers throwing a bullpen today included: Blake Beavan, Joe Beimel, Anthony Fernandez, Nick Hill, Lucas Luetge, Tom Wilhelmsen, Scott Baker, Andrew Caraway, Matt Palmer, Erasmo Ramirez, James Gillheeney, Logan Kensing, Dominic Leone and Chance Ruffin.

Dustin Ackley was the latest position player to show up at the complex for early work. He joined a group of over 20 position players that took batting practice on the field today. Brad Miller, Kyle Seager and Justin Smoak were part of the infield group that each fielded over 150 ground baseballs at their positions. Which in this heat is a lot of extra work!

The Mariners have scheduled their first intrasquad game on February 25 at 12:45 pm. Rosters for the game will be announced closer to the start of the game. The team will also add a few “B” games to the schedule with other teams in the Cactus League over the next couple of weeks.

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Manager Lloyd McClendon working with part of his coaching staff.

Weather:
What another amazing day in the sun in Peoria again today! The temperatures are still in the mid-80s with zero percent chance of perception in the forecast. If you have not already done so, now may be the time to book your flight to Arizona. With Punxsutawney Phil projecting six more weeks of winter, I can’t think of a better winter destination then Peoria!

Welcome to camp:

Catcher Manuel Piña arrived in Peoria yesterday and was out on the field for workouts with the rest of the team’s pitchers and catchers this morning. That leaves right-handed pitcher Ramon Ramirez, a non-roster invite, as the camp’s only absentee among the 43 pitchers and catchers. Ramirez is a native of the Dominican Republic and is expect to report soon.

Smoak Signs:

First baseman Justin Smoak has agreed to terms with the Mariners on a contract for the 2014 season, with a club vesting option for 2015. Smoak, 27, hit a career-high 20 home runs last season, despite being placed on the 15-day disabled list from June 2 (retroactive to May 30) to June 17 with a right oblique strain. He appeared in 131 games (124 starts) at first base (125 games, 121 starts) and designated hitter (3 starts). Smoak led the team with 30, 2-out RBI and ranked 5th among AL first basemen with a .995 fielding percentage. Smoak has appeared in 199 career Major League games with the Mariners over the 2010-2013 seasons. He made his ML debut with Texas in 2010. The Mariners acquired Smoak from the Rangers via trade on July 9, 2010 as a part of the Cliff Lee deal. Smoak was originally selected by the Rangers in the first round (11th overall pick) of the 2008 June Amateur Draft out of the University of South Carolina. He attended Stratford (SC) High School where he was a four-year letter winner and was the 2004 and 2005 South Carolina AAAA Baseball Player of the Year.

The Mariners have now agreed to terms with all of their arbitration eligible players.

Justin Smoak smacks his second 3-run homer of the game for his first career multi-HR game. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

Justin Smoak

First Day of Mini Camp:

The Mariners have conducted a winter program for their minor league players for years, but this is the fifth year for a structured mini-camp that features 42 of the organizations top prospects that are not already in Major League camp. The players went through physicals first thing this morning and were already out of the field at 1 pm in the afternoon. Mini Camp is designed to refine the skills of young players under the close eyes of that organization coaching staff. Like instructional league in fall, Mini Camp allows guys to carry over what they learned directly into the minor league season.

Among players taking part in the mini-camp included pitchers Edwin Diaz, Luiz Gohara, Tyler Pike and Victor Sanchez and position players Joe DeCarlo, D.J. Peterson, Tyler Smith and Gabriel Guerrero. Fifteen of the 42 players participating in Mini Camp are 20-years old or younger, including Gohara, who at age 17 is the youngest player on the field.

Peterson

Infielder D.J. Peteron, the Mariners first round selection in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, taking batting practice during Mini Camp.

Sochi Olympics 2014:

If he wasn’t a household name already, T.J. Oshie, was the talk around the clubhouse this morning. Oshie, a right wing for the St. Louis Blues, scored on four of his six shootout attempts, to give the U.S. a 3-2 victory over Russia in their Olympics preliminary round matchup today. With cable still getting set up in the complex, Video Coordinator Jimmy Hartley, streamed the game through his computer onto the televisions in his office for a group of players to watch. Pitchers Carson Smith, Bobby LaFromboise, Brandon Maurer and Blake Beavan all watched the last few intense moments during the shootout. Outfielder Michael Saunders doing a little more scouting than watching. Saunders grew up playing hockey in Victoria, British Columbia, and doesn’t hide his allegiance to Team Canada.

Did you know?…T.J. Oshie was born in Mount Vernon, WA and grew up just south in Everett. He began playing with the Seattle Juniors Hockey Association before moving to Minnesota as a teenager.

Hockey

Carson Smith, Brandon Maurer, Bobby LaFromboise and Michael Saunders watching Team USA defeat Team Russia today in hockey.

Behind the Scenes Photo of the Day:

Clubhouse Assistant Pete Fortune is in his 25th season with the Mariners and during Spring Training he spends a majority of his day handling the team’s laundry. In the new facility Pete uses four industrial size washer and driers that are constantly running throughout the day. He begins doing laundry almost immediately when he first gets into the clubhouse and by the end of the day averages between 20-25 loads of laundry a day. That number will increase even more when all 68 players are in camp next week and does not include laundry for the more than 150 minor players that participate in spring training on the minor league side. For comparisons, the commercial size washers hold almost 2.5 times the amount of laundry than a personal washing machine in our homes. I am constantly doing laundry for two toddlers and can’t even imagine washing, drying, folding and putting away that many loads of laundry. The one other thing I found impressive, Pete never seems to lose any socks! He also points out that the lint tray for the driers need to be cleaned out every day. Below is a photo of Pete cleaning out the lint trap, which literally consists him sweeping out the bottom of the dryer.

Pete

Clubhouse Assistant Pete Fortune cleaning out the lint trap in the Mariners laundry room.

Tweet of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 16):
Pitchers and catchers will hit the field again tomorrow morning at 9:30 am (Arizona time).

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