Updated: 3 p.m. Seattle Time.
It was a low-key workout day for the Mariners on the last day before the start of the regular season.
The team bus left the hotel at noon and arrived at the Tokyo Dome around 12:30 for a 1:30 pm workout and soon the Mariners sent out a news release announcing the provisional roster for Opening Day in Japan.
The biggest news item of that release was Munenori Kawasaki being on the roster and the media obviously wanted to hear his thoughts about the honor.
Some writers had assumed that he made the team yesterday after seeing an emotional Kawasaki in the clubhouse but it was made “official” this afternoon.
Robby Thompson, who filled in for Eric Wedge in the pre-workout news conference, said “he has done a lot of good things for us, he’s full of energy and has passion for the game. He’s a great teammate, all of us love the guy and he’s brought a lot of life to this club.”
Another guy who got good news was right-hander Erasmo Ramirez. After seeing him walk out of the Manager’s office last night with a big smile on his face, it was clear that he had received some good news.
Some members of the Mariners including Eric Wedge, Alex Liddi, Hector Noesi and Hisashi Iwakuma missed the workout and instead went to Ishinomaki Stadium where they held a baseball clinic. Check back later for a slide show from this appearance.
MARINERS ANNOUNCE PROVISIONAL 28-MAN OPENING DAY ROSTER
Final Roster not due to MLB until Wednesday, March 28.
TOKYO, Japan – Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager Jack Zduriencik announced today the Mariners planned 28-man roster for the season opener in Japan.
FINAL ROSTERS ARE NOT DUE TO MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL UNTIL 1 PM ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28. The Mariners Opening Day roster will NOT be official until that time.
To move from 30 players (the travel roster to Japan) to 28 eligible players, the Mariners made the following roster moves:
- OF Carlos Peguero, RHP Chance Ruffin were optioned to AAA Tacoma.
- C Guillermo Quiroz was re-assigned to minor league camp.
To set the Opening Day roster, the Mariners made the following roster moves:
- INF Munenori Kawasaki, RHP Kevin Millwood (still in Arizona) and RHP Erasmo Ramirez selected from Tacoma.
The Major League 40-man roster is now at 40 players.
To move from 28 players (the Opening Day Roster) to 25 eligible players, the Mariners made the following moves:
- RHP Kevin Millwood, RHP Hisashi Iwakuma and RHP Hector Noesi designated as ineligible for the Japan Opening Series vs. the A’s.
Here is a look at the 28-man Opening Day roster (players in italics are not eligible for the first two games):
ITAL – Not eligible for first two games.
Mike Cameron, the popular former Mariners outfielder, has agreed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Night, Friday, April 13.
Cameron played for the Mariners for four seasons (2000-2003), endearing himself to fans with his hustle and blazing smile, and his trademark un-tucked shirttail immediately after the final out of each game.
Cameron came over to the Mariners in the trade that sent Ken Griffey Jr. to the Cincinnati Reds. And how does one follow a legend? Cameron wrote the book.
Early in the 2000 season, fans were still trying to figure out who the new guy in center field was and how he could ever replace Griffey.
In the fourth game of the season, Friday, April 7, vs. the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter drove a pitch deep to center. Cameron started sprinting to the wall, made the leap, and came down with a perfect ice cream cone catch. At that moment, Seattle’s love affair with Cammie officially began, the crowd went crazy, and the pain of Griffey’s departure started to ease.
Cameron was a key member of the 2001 team that won an American League record 116 games. He started in the outfield at the All-Star Game at Safeco Field that season, and won his first of two American League Gold Gloves (the other in 2003). He and Mark McLemore were front and center in an iconic moment from that amazing season when they led teammates around the infield, carrying the American flag, after the team clinched the American League West Division title on September 19. Last year, the scene was immortalized as a bobblehead to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2001 season.
Cameron set a single game record for home runs with four longballs on May 2, 2002, against the Chicago White Sox. He hit the first off pitcher Jon Rauch and the next three off Jim Parque. In his final at-bat in the 9th inning, Cameron almost had #5 when he sent the right fielder to the wall to make the catch. The Mariners won that night 15-4, and Rauch and Parque were both optioned to the minors after the game.
Cameron’s 17-year Major League career ended on February 19, 2012. He played for seven teams other than the Mariners: the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins. He’d been invited to Spring Training by the Washington Nationals at the time of his retirement.