Spring Training Daily Update – Day 12

Mariners Spring Training Update

Sunday, February 23, 2014 / 36 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 45 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels).

Setting the Scene:
The Mariners began workouts again this morning at 9:30 am sharp. After their individual throwing programs, the position players worked on cutoffs and relays on fields 5 and 6. Players then broke into groups with infielders on fields 5 and 6 and outfielders on field 2 to work on individual defensive drills. After individual work players broke into groups for batting practice. Endy Chavez, Brad Miller, Nick Franklin and Carlos Triunfel each worked on bunting on field 1 at the conclusion of batting practice.

 Pitchers throwing Live BP: Felix Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, Tom Wilhelmsen, Dominic Leone, Yoervis Medina, Nick Hill, Joe Beimel.

Pitchers throwing a Bullpen: Andrew Carraway, Stephen Pryor, Anthony Fernandez, Chance Ruffin, James Gillheeney.

BP

Kyle Seager and Brad Miller watching as Robinson Cano takes BP.

Welcome to the Show:

RHP Felix Hernandez threw his first live BP session today facing Ji-Man Choi, Chris Taylor and Gabriel Noriega on field 5. The three prospects definitely looked a little uncomfortable facing Felix. Felix is expected to throw another round of live BP or a simulated game on Wednesday.

Felix Live BP

Felix throwing live BP.

Making Progress:

RHP Stephen Pryor threw this first bullpen session of the spring. He threw 20 pitches, all fastballs, and said afterwards he felt great and was glad to get the first one out of the way. Pryor missed most of the 2013 season after being placed on the disabled list with a tear in his right latissimus dorsi muscle. Prior to his injury, Pryor did not allow a run in 7 appearances (7.1 innings) and stranded 7 of 8 inherited runners.

Pryor

Pryor throwing first Spring Training bullpen.

The “Towel Drill”:

RHP Hisashi Iwakuma threw a bullpen today, but instead of a ball he threw with a towel. Iwakuma was diagnosed a strained tendon in his middle finger at the start for Spring Training and has yet to be able to throw a baseball. By using the “towel drill” this morning helps him work on his mechanics and motion without actually throwing a ball.

Iwakuma using the “towel drill” during bullpen session.

Preparing for an Intersquad game on Tuesday:

The Mariners will face the Mariners in the first Intersquad game of the year on Tuesday, February 25. The game is expected to start at 12:45 pm (11:45 pm PT) and last approximately 4 ½ innings.

LHP Roenis Elias will start for one side, followed by RHP Hector Noesi, LHP James Gilheeney, RHP Logan Bawcom and RHP Jonathan Arias. On the other LHP Anthony Fernandez will start, followed by RHP Andrew Carraway, RHP Stephen Kohlscheen and RHP Chance Ruffin. Lineups should be posted in the near future.

 Count down to games:

The Mariners face the San Diego Padres in the annual Charity game at the Peoria Stadium on Thursday, February 27 and then get their “official” Spring Training Schedule underway the following day facing the Padres for the second straight game. RHP Erasmo Ramirez is expected to start on Thursday, while LHP James Paxton is scheduled to take the bump on Friday.

 Probable Pitchers:

Thursday vs. San Diego – RH Erasmo Ramirez, RH Blake Beavan, RH Logan Kensing, LH Lucas Luetge, RH Tom Wilhelmsen, LH Joe Beimel, RH Danny Farquhar.

Friday at San Diego – LH James Paxton, RH Matt Palmer, LH Nick Hill, RH Zach Miner, RH Carson Smith, LH Charlie Furbush, RH Dominic Leone.

Saturday vs. Los Angeles (AL) – RH Scott Baker, LH Bobby LaFromboise, RH Mark Rogers, RH Yoervis Medina, RH Stephen Kohlscheen, RH Jonathan Arias, RH Logan Bawcom.

“WOW, That was Nasty”:

The MLB Network is currently counting down the Top 100 Players Right Now in 20-player increments. The list, based on player performance over the past several seasons with an emphasis on 2013 and projected 2014, includes all players in MLB. During the crowded post-workout window of time today, Hisashi Iwakuma was featured, leading to a lot of hooting, hollering and cheering in the clubhouse as strikeout after strikeout by Kuma rolled across the screen. Starting in March, the Top 100 Players Right Now will be available on the on-demand platforms of the MLB Network affiliates, including AT&T, U-verse, Cablevision, Comcast, Dish Network  and Verizon FiOS in the US.  Iwakuma took all the abuse with a good-natured smile on his face while sitting at his locker.

Cover Shoot:
Seattle Times photographer Dean Rutz was setup bright and early this morning on Field 7. Dean was shooting a cover photo of Robinson Cano for the Times Special Section that will be published right before the regular season begins. Robinson was impressed that Dean said he needed 10 minutes and was done in less than 8 minutes. He even got a chance to see someone of the photos on Dean’s camera and liked what he saw.

Cano Times Photo shoot

Cano smiling during a Seattle Times photo shoot.

It is never too early:

As if taking 150 ground balls during workouts weren’t enough, shortstop Brad Miller was out of Field 1 this morning at 8 am taking even more grounders. Miller is a big believer is getting in as much work as possible during spring training and it is never very hard to grab a couple of coaches to go workout on the fields early with you.

Lombardi Time:

Have you ever heard of “Lombardi Time”? It is definitely a term that is used quite a bit around the complex early in camp. “Lombardi Time” is based on the principle that a person should show up 10 minutes early or else be considered late. Triple-A Manager Rich Donnelly is in charge of keeping the “camp time” during Spring Training, while making workouts run on-time and smoothly. And I can tell you he takes job very seriously. Today, Stephen Pryor was expected to throw his first bullpen at 10:00 am and he was already finishing his 20 pitches and walking off the field at 10:00 am. It is pretty impressive. Everyone from players to coaches knows they have certain drills to get through and a schedule to follow, but once they are done correctly it is time to move onto the next station.

PFP

Rich Donnelly running a PFP drill.

Welcome to the Peoria Sports Complex:

MLB.com columnist Tracy Ringolsby was in camp today catching up with a few of the players in the clubhouse, including first baseman Justin Smoak. Ringolsby, who is known for his signature cowboy hat that he always wears, was a Mariners beat reporter from July 1980-July 1983, and was the 2005 recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, presented by the Hall of Fame annually to a writer.

Also visiting Peoria today was the Zinger Bat Company. In the last 3 days we have seen Louisville Slugger, Old Hickory, Max Bats, Viper Bats and X-Bats representatives chatting with the players about the different products they each offer.

Closing Ceremonies:

The 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia wrapped today. Outfielder Michael Saunders had a little chip on his shoulder this morning after Team Canada defeated Sweden 3-0 in the gold medal hockey game. While hockey was invented in Europe, it is considered Canada’s National Pastime and one of the most popular sports for youth to play. Growing up, Saunders played baseball, hockey and lacrosse, which he points out that lacrosse was invented by a fellow Canadian.

Did You Know…the OF Michael Saunders, who is from Victoria British Columbia, played for Team Canada during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics?…Saunders also played for Team Canada in the Little League World Series in 1999 and was  a member of the 2013 Canadian World Baseball Classic squad.

Michael Saunders played for Team Canada in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Michael Saunders played for Team Canada in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Weather:
With the weather reports of more rain and snow in the Seattle area, we are seeing the exact opposite in Peoria today. Temperatures again were in the upper 70s and low-80s all day. I know we have said this before, but this maybe one of the warmest starts to Spring Training in the last 10 years. If you are freezing in Seattle, it is the perfect time to get away!

Song of the Day:

The music playing out of the fields during morning workouts has been a popular topic of conversation with a lot of people so far this spring. Yesterday we had our first “speaker” causality when Video Coordinator Jimmy Hartley said he turned up the music up too loud causing one of the speakers vibrate and fall from the tower. Luckily it was before workouts began and no one was around at the time. He quickly got the speaker fixed and the music playing again. One of the first songs played this morning was Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”. I caught a couple of our beat writers bobbing their head and signing along. When the Rolling Stones “Start Me Up” came on next I also caught an unnamed players signing along in between drills. Special Assistant to the General Manager Pete Vuckovich yesterday was a big fan of A-ha’s “Take on Me”, but I noticed today he was listening to his own classic rock playlist on his personal I-pod with his ear buds in.

Tweet of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 24):
Workouts continue tomorrow at 9:30 am. Pitchers will continue to throw live batting practice, while both pitchers and position players will work on defensive drills.

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