Tickets for the Seattle Mariners 2015 Spring Training games at the Peoria Sports Complex go on sale Saturday at 8am PST.
Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training on February 20. The first game of the 2015 Spring campaign is the annual charity game against the San Diego Padres on Wednesday, March 4. Proceeds from the game benefit several Peoria area non-profits.
The Mariners Spring Training Schedule includes 32 total games and 16 “home” games at the Peoria Sports Complex. The Mariners will host both World Series participants in Peoria. The American League Champion Kansas City Royals visit on Thursday, March 26, followed two days later (March 28) by the World Champion San Francisco Giants.
The Mariners close out the 2015 training camp with a pair of games against the Colorado Rockies: Friday, April 3, at Peoria (7:05pm) and Saturday, April 4, at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. (12:10pm). The Mariners then travel to Seattle to prepare for the regular season Opening Day at Safeco Field on Monday, April 6, against the Los Angeles Angels.
One of the newest Mariners, Nelson Cruz, was busy playing Santa Claus this morning in his native hometown in the Dominican Republic. Nelson, along with Ervin Santana and Yordano Ventura, visited their former schools in the DR to help underscore the importance of education and to encourage the youth to stay in school.
Through their own personal financial contributions and additional funding from the Major League Baseball Players Trust, Cruz, Santana and Ventura met with students this morning and read books to the kids. They also delivered gift-wrapped holiday presents and new books to more than 1,200 students at schools in Monti Cristi, Samana and San Cristobal, Dominican Republic. Nelson is committed to helping improve the lives of children residing in his hometown, and to help ensure that they all experience the joy of unwrapping a present this holiday season.
Here are some photos from today’s event:
The Mariners have acquired outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor league relief pitcher Matt Brazis.
Ruggiano, 32, played 81 games with the Chicago Cubs last season, batting .281 (63×224) with 13 doubles, one triple, 6 home runs and 28 RBI. He missed extended time due to two trips to the disabled list, including season-ending left ankle surgery.
The Austin, Texas native has appeared in 398 Major League games over six seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays (2007-08, 2011), Miami Marlins (2012-13) and Cubs (2014). The right-handed hitter has clubbed 62 doubles, 3 triples and 43 home runs in his career. He has appeared in games at all three outfield positions: CF (166 G/148 GS), LF (118 G/71 GS), RF (76 G/56 GS).
Over the last three seasons he has combined for 54 doubles, 37 home runs and 114 RBI in 300 games. He hit a career-high 18 home runs in 2013 with the Marlins. In his career he has a .836 OPS vs. left-handed pitching (.266 batting average).
Ruggiano was originally selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 25th round of the 2004 June Draft out of Texas A&M University (also attended Blinn College). He made his MLB debut Sept. 19, 2007 with Tampa Bay.
New Mariners outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz took a few minutes to chat with Rick Rizzs after his introductory news conference. Click below to see Nelson Cruz talk about being a Seattle Mariner, playing with Robinson Cano, his playing style and more.
Former Mariners first baseman John Olerud raised the 12th Man Flag prior to yesterday’s Seahawks game vs. the San Francisco 49ers. John fired up the record crowd of 68,526 prior to going on to win 17-7.
Olerud played five of his 17-season Major League career with the Mariners from 2000-2004. The former Interlake High School (Bellevue) and Washington State University star appeared in 2,234 career MLB games, combined to bat .295 with 500 doubles, 255 home runs and 1230 RBI, was a three-time Gold Glove winner (2000, 2002, 2003) and a two-time All-Star (1993, 2001).
Here are a few videos from the 12th Man Flag-raising event:
Here are some fun photos of John raising the flag and his day spent at CenturyLink Field (photos courtesy of the Seahawks):
Olerud raising the 12th Man Flag is the latest of a string of Mariners to take part in the tradition…
As usual, GM Jack Zduriencik worked the phones to try and improve the club. As he told MLB.com’s Greg Johns, The News Tribune’s Bob Dutton and the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish, there are a lot of variables that come into play when trying to find the right fit.
Manager Lloyd McClendon had a busy day on the media circuit today, touching base with MLB Network Radio, ESPN and was also available to media during the Manager Luncheon.
Before the Manager Luncheon began, all 30 skippers got the chance to mingle and talk to their counterparts.
After lunch, the American League Managers got together for a group photo.
The night is still young…you never know what can happen with just one phone call.
Conversations continue as GM Jack Zduriencik looks for ways to improve the club. He’s examining at all of the team’s options and is of course receiving lots of interest in the Mariners players.
Like yesterday, be sure to check out the respective blogs/websites for the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish, The Tacoma News Tribune’s Bob Dutton and MLB.com’s Greg Johns to catch up on what Zduriencik told them during their media availability.
Baseball America High School Player of the Year
Mariners 2014 top draft pick Alex Jackson is in town (his hometown) here in San Diego to collect Baseball America‘s High School Player of the Year Award. While here, he took some time to talk to Greg Johns, Ryan Divish and Bob Dutton before the awards ceremony. Be sure to look for their features later tonight or tomorrow to read about what Jackson has been up to this offseason.
Mariners Affiliates Dinner
The Mariners affiliates dinner will start shortly and the club is excited to see everybody here in San Diego and are looking forward to meeting the folks from the Bakersfield Blaze, the Mariners new High-A affiliate in the California League. We’ll post pictures of the event later tonight.
The Major League Baseball world has converged in San Diego for the Winter Meetings, which means there are people everywhere. General Managers, Managers, scouts, agents, media, job seekers, front office members and others have taken over the Manchester Grand Hyatt as they ponder what lies ahead for this offseason.
General Manager Jack Zduriencik has already been busy talking to other teams and player agents as he looks for ways to improve the ball club and his days will last long into the evening.
Between their usual responsibilities, Jack and Manager Lloyd McClendon have taken time out of their schedules to meet with media outlets. Both Jack and Lloyd met with the MLB Network this morning/afternoon and will continue to make the rounds the rest of this week.
If you didn’t see the previous post on this blog, click here to check out Lloyd’s segment with Brian Kenny, Ron Darling and Joel Sherman on MLB Now.
And here is Jack’s segment with Chris Rose, Harold Reynolds and Kevin Millar:
Before the start of last season, the baseball family lost Baltimore Orioles Public Relations Director Monica Barlow to lung cancer. To keep her legacy alive, Major League Baseball has teamed up with Lungevity, the largest national lung cancer-focused nonprofit, to raise funds and awareness to fight this disease.
Club public relations members joined Orioles Manager Buck Showalter and Monica’s husband, Ben at a news conference to announce a charity auction that will benefit the Lungevity organization. To check out about the unique experiences that you can bid on, head over to MLB.com/Lungevity
You can read more about the auction on Greg Johns’ blog: Mariners offer unique auction items for Stand Up to Cancer fundraiser at Winter Meetings
Jack Zduriencik Meets With Seattle Media
Each day, Jack Zduriencik meets with members of the Seattle media to give them an update on what’s going on for him during the day.
Be sure to check the respective blogs to get a recap of their conversation with Jack.
Another day, another news conference at Safeco Field. Today, the Mariners introduced their newest slugger, outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Nelson did a sit-down interview with ROOT Sports, held a news conference with the local media (and carried by Mariners.com and MLB Network) and did several interviews. Here are some highlights from the big day at Safeco Field.
Video of Introductory News Conference:
Photos courtesy of the Associated Press & Getty Images
Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has signed free agent outfielder / designated hitter Nelson Cruz to a 4-year contract through the 2018 season. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
“Our number one goal this off-season was to improve our offense, ideally by adding right-handed power, and with the addition of Nelson Cruz we think we’ve accomplished that goal,” Zduriencik said. “He is an impact hitter that will bat in the middle of our line-up. Nelson has a track record as a middle of the order hitter on pennant contending clubs. He will be an asset on the field and in the clubhouse. Nelson’s presence in our clubhouse and as a teammate will continue to help our club advance to the next level. We see him as an ideal fit as we strive toward our goal of winning a World Championship.”
“I am excited to join the Mariners,” Cruz said. “Watching Seattle play from the other side of the field, I know how close this team is to the post-season, and I am hopeful that I can help to get us there.”Cruz, 34, led the Majors with 40 home runs in 2014, and was third in the Majors with 108 RBI to go along with 32 doubles and 2 triples. He set new single-season career-highs in runs (87), hits (166), HR, RBI, walks (55), extra-base hits (74) and total bases (322) while tying his career-high in games played (159).
Cruz, a right-handed hitting outfielder and designated hitter, was twice named American League Player of the Week last season (weeks ending June 1 & Sept. 7). He played in his third All-Star Game, and was voted a starter for the first time, collecting over 3-million votes at DH. At the conclusion of the season, was voted the Orioles Most Valuable Player by the local Baltimore media. Cruz was also the Orioles nominee for the Hank Aaron Award.
Cruz’s 159 games played included starts in left field, right field and as the designated hitter. Baltimore was 95-64 when he started, including 36-24 when he was in left, 8-2 when he was in right and 51-38 when he was the DH.
Cruz has appeared in the postseason in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014, including in the ALCS and World Series in 2010 and 2011. He has three All-Star Game appearances (2009, 2013, 2014) and also played in a pair of World Baseball Classic’s (2009, 2013) for the Dominican Republic.
Cruz is a 10-year MLB veteran who has appeared in the Majors with Milwaukee (2005), Texas (2006-2013) and Baltimore. In his Major League career, he has appeared in 963 games, hitting a combined .268 with 203 doubles, 10 triples, 197 home runs and 597 RBI. Cruz boasts a career slugger percentage of .501 and a career OPS of .829. In every season in his career in which he has appeared in at least 100 games, Cruz has collected at least 20 home runs and 75 RBI.
Cruz is one of just seven players with 20 or more home runs in each of the past six seasons:
• Nelson Cruz
• Miguel Cabrera
• Matt Holiday
• Brian McCann
• David Ortiz
• Hunter Pence
• Mark Reynolds