Mariners Spring Training Update
Friday, February 14, 2014 / 45 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 53 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels)
Setting the Scene:
Happy Valentine’s Day from sunny Peoria, Arizona. Today marked the second day with pitchers and catchers on the field at the Peoria Sports Complex. Pitchers continued to work on PFP (pitcher fielding practice), while catcher also worked on fundamentals in small groups. Starters Randy Wolf, Zach Miner, Brandon Maurer and James Paxton each threw their first bullpen of the spring in the first group. Relievers Jonathan Arias, Bobby LaFromboise, Hector Noesi, Charlie Furbush, Mark Rogers, Danny Farquhar, Logan Bawcom, Roenis Elias, Stephen Kohlscheen and Carson Smith were part of the second and third bullpen groups.
Mark Rogers started throwing to catcher Jesus Sucre in the bullpen, but after a couple of balls in the dirt that bounced off Sucre’s leg, John Buck had to step in and finish catching the bullpen. Don’t worry, Sucre is just fine. Just a little comic relief amongst the staff on the field.
In other news, right-handed pitchers Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker are each scheduled to throw their first bullpen on Monday.
Nearly all of the position players have arrived early and according to Manager Lloyd McClendon most are ready to start playing now. Everyone worked really hard this offseason and came into camp ready to compete.
Have I mentioned it is hot? Hope you are wearing your sunscreen. The temperatures are still continuing to climb with highs in the mid-80s and even warmer the next couple of days. Definitely now rain in the forecast!
Welcome back from the Dominican Republic:
Kevin Mather, Jack Zduriencik, Jeff Kingston, Chris Gwynn and Roger Hanson arrived back at the complex in Peoria after a quick trip (less than 24 hours) to the Dominican Republic for the grand opening of the Mariners new facility in Boca Chica. Mariners photographer Ben VanHouten also made the trip to the Dominican Republic and was in camp today for a short time before heading back to Seattle. A Big thank you to Ben for the photos for the blog from today’s workout.
Also back today from the Dominican Republic was Greg Johns from Mariners.com and Jen Mueller and Kevin Vocht from ROOT Sports. If you haven’t read Greg’s story or blog post on Mariners.com today, I highly recommend it. A lot of the players are sitting down with Jen for interviews that will air on ROOT Sports throughout the spring.
National Media in Camp:
FoxSports.com columnist Jon Paul Morosi was in camp briefly catching up with a few of the Mariners players, including Felix Hernandez and Fernando Rodney. He also spent some time chatting with Manager Lloyd McClendon and asked him about former Tigers manager Jim Leyland. Lloyd and Jim continue to talk almost daily. When asked if Leyland would make a trip to Peoria to catch up with his former hitting coach, Lloyd responded no. But followed up by saying, “Jim will most likely make a trip to see us when we are in New York. Jim doesn’t like to travel very far from home no matter who it is to visit.”
Mariners Pause to Remember Jim Fergosi:
I entire MLB community was sadden by the news that Jim Fregosi, the 18-year Major League player, 15-year Major League manager and Special Assistant to the General Manager of the Atlanta Braves passed away early this morning.
“It has been a tough day around here this morning. It was a tremendous loss for the baseball community,” Manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He had a tremendous presence and will be missed.”
Lloyd said they had a great chat during the Winter Meetings in December and planned on catching up more during the season.
Baseball Information Offices:
The Mariners Baseball Information staff office is starting to finally come together. Today we had contractors putting up the finishing touches in the office and hanging all of our whiteboards. Only a few more boxes to unpack and we will be good to go!
Tweet of the Day:
On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 15):
Pitchers and catchers will hit the field for day 3 at 9:30 am (Arizona time) on Saturday morning. This is the time of year where it does feel a little like Groundhogs Day, but there is nothing better than watching baseball in Peoria in February!
Here’s a look at some of the English & Spanish features that were written about the Dominican Baseball Academy over the last few days.
- Mariners.com: New academy boosts Mariners’ presence in Dominican
- Mariners Musings: Photos from my Dominican Republic venture
- Seattle Times: Photos: Mariners unveil new baseball academy in the Dominican Republic
- ESPN Deportes: Marineros inaugura academia en RD
- Hoy: Los Marineros inauguran moderna academia en Boca Chica
- 7dias: Marineros inauguran este jueves su Academia de Beisbol en Boca Chica
- CDN: Marineros hechan raices con nueva academia en Boca Chica
- Diario Libre: Los Marineros abren una moderna academia en Boca Chica
- Quinigueros.com: Marineros tienen nuevo hogar para desarrollar talento de RD
- Listin Diario: Marineros tienen nuevo hogar para desarrollar talento de RD
- Nacion Deportiva: La Academia de los Marineros por dentro
- El Caribe: Un pedazo de los Marineros en Republica Dominicana
- Beisbol AP: Marineros inauguran academia en Dominicana
- Panorama: Marineros de Seattle abren lujoso complejo en Boca Chica
- MundiDeportes: Marineros inauguraran academia de beisbol en Rep. Dominicana
Here’s a brief video of the day courtesy of Victor MI. Baez S. (Deportes SIN):
Here’s a photo gallery courtesy of team photographer Ben Van Houten:
As an added treat, the players working out at the academy got the chance to meet with Robinson Cano who took batting practice at the new Academy:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik today announced that the club has signed right-handed relief pitcher Fernando Rodney to a two-year deal through the 2015 season.
Rodney will take the field today with the rest of the Seattle pitchers and catchers for the team’s first workout.
Rodney, 36, went 5-4 with 37 saves and a 3.38 ERA (25 ER, 66.2 IP) in 68 relief appearances with Tampa Bay in 2013. Over the last two seasons with the Rays he combined to record 85 saves with a 1.91 ERA in 144 relief appearances (76 in ’12, 68 in ’12). During this two-year stretch, he ranked 2nd among American League relievers in saves and ERA, while ranking 3rd in appearances.
Mariners Spring Training Update
Wednesday, February 12, 2014 / 47 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 55 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels)
Setting the Scene:
We wanted to get a jump-start on the spring blog updates, well, because we are down here and anxious to get the season started. Pitchers and Catchers reported to camp for physicals today, and the first day on the field will be bright and early tomorrow morning. The exams began at 10:00 am and are scheduled to wrap up well after 6 pm. There were still a lot of players milling around the clubhouse getting workouts in and setting up their lockers. Logan Morrison, Corey Hart, Michael Saunders and Kyle Seager were among the position players getting in some extra swings in the cages. Position players are scheduled to officially report for physicals Feb. 17 and the first full-squad workout will be held Feb. 18.
Getting settled into the new digs:
After a year of renovating by the City of Peoria, the Mariners have officially moved into the expanded facilities at the Peoria Sports Complex. The new facility is state-of-the-art and expanded from 37,000 sq. ft. to 56,368 sq. ft., an increase of 58%. The biggest problem is just figuring out how to get from here to there.
A beautiful day in Peoria with hardly a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the low-to-mid 80’s. More sunshine and baseball in the forecast for the next few days.
Iwakuma injury update:
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma will not be able to throw for the next four to six weeks after injuring his middle finger on his right (throwing) hand. He was working out in Southern California in preparation for spring training and got his finger stuck in protective netting while playing catch. Iwakuma was examined by hand specialist Dr. Don Sheridan in Arizona and diagnosed with strained tendon in his middle finger. He currently has his finger in a splint, and will be re-examined after three weeks. At this time, it is not expected that the finger will require surgery to repair.
Welcome aboard Valle:
The Mariners announced their full season minor league coaching staff last month, but officially announced the staffs for the organizations five short-season affiliates today. Former Mariners catcher Dave Valle will begin his managerial career at the helm of the Everett AquaSox in the Northwest League. He spent nine seasons behind the plate for the Mariners and 21 seasons in professional baseball after originally selected by Seattle in the second round of the 1978 MLB Draft. Valle played for four teams in his 13-year Major League career, including the Mariners (1984-93), Boston (1994), Milwaukee (1994) and Texas (1995-06). He finished with a .237 lifetime batting average, 77 home runs and 350 RBI. Prior to beginning his coaching career, Valle spent the last 16 seasons as part of the Mariners broadcast team. He also was one of the analysts on the MLB Network’s MLB Tonight show since 2009. Rob Mummau (Rookie Pulaski), Darrin Garner (Rookie AZL Mariners), Claudio Almonte (Dominican Republic) and Russell Vasquez (Venezuela) round out the managers for the Mariners short-season affiliates.
Mariners open state-of-the-art facility in Dominican Republic:
The Mariners will open their new baseball academy in Boca Chica in the Dominican Republic Thursday morning. Mariners President & Chief Operating Officer Kevin Mather, Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik, Player Development Director Chris Gwynn and other staff left Peoria, Arizona early this morning to participate in tomorrow’s 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.
Tweet of the Day:
On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 13):
Pitchers and catchers will officially hit the field at 9:30 am (Arizona time) on Thursday morning.
With pitchers and catchers reporting tomorrow, the stove has never been hotter. Tonight’s guests include Michael Saunders, Chris Woodward, Vince Cottroneo, Rob Neyer (now with FOX Sports), and Camden Finney of the Mariners marketing department, who will fill us in on some of the special events at Safeco Field this season. The show will be hosted by Rick Rizzs, Mike Blowers and Shannon Drayer.
Tune in from 7-9 p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle or listen for free online here.
There have been a number of questions about tomorrow’s event at Safeco Field for fans looking to celebrate the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. We’ll try our best to answer them below. (UPDATE: WE ARE NOW AT CAPACITY FOR THIS EVENT.)
What is happening at Safeco Field on Wednesday?
We are opening gates at 10:30 a.m. for what will be strictly a viewing party of the parade downtown and of ceremonies at CenturyLink Field. Fans will be able to follow along on TVs throughout the main concourse and on MarinersVision.
Are tickets to the viewing party still available?
As of 10:45 p.m. on Tuesday, we are at capacity for this event.
How much does it cost to get in?
Admission is free but tickets are required to get in. Please note that it will be festival seating throughout the ballpark.
If tickets are free, why even require them?
Good question. This is for operational purposes and will help ensure we do not exceed capacity.
I’m having trouble printing my tickets. What do I do?
The Ticketmaster system was maxed out tonight. However, if you received an email confirmation, your ticket is reserved. You will receive an email tomorrow with steps you can take to log back into the system and print your tickets.
What’s the deal with parking?
The Safeco Field Parking Garage will be open at 8am. Parking passes are $10 and will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Space is limited.
Will concessions be open?
Concessions will be open at the ballpark, but no alcohol will be served during the event. The same will be true at CenturyLink Field.
Can we bring bags, cameras, etc.?
Our normal ballpark policies will apply. Please check out our Safeco Field A-to-Z Guide for more information.
If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments below or each out to us on Twitter (@Mariners). We look forward to celebrating with all of you tomorrow. Go Hawks!
Today is the end of an era at the Seattle Mariners. It is the last day for Chuck Armstrong as President and Chief Operating Officer, a position he held for 28 years.
On Wednesday night, over 300 people gathered to celebrate Chuck at an event that was as much a Mariners family reunion as it was a retirement party. Lou Piniella and Ken Griffey Jr. flew in from Florida. Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez, Alvin Davis and Dan Wilson, all members of the Mariners Hall of Fame, were present. The late Dave Niehaus was represented by his wife Marilyn and son David. Dick Balderson and Woody Woodward, both former General Managers, were there, along with former Seattle Mayors Charles Royer and Norm Rice. And former owner George Argyros, who brought Chuck in as president all those years ago, flew up from California. It was a night filled with stories and laughter, and surprisingly few tears.
Chuck wore his passion for the Mariners proudly. He felt every loss and disappointment deeply. He leaves the team stronger than it has been in years.
Best wishes to you, Chuck Armstrong, as you begin this new chapter of your life. You will be missed.
Here are some quotes that various dignitaries around baseball shared on Chuck:
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig:
Chuck was one of the key leaders who secured the national pastime’s future in the Pacific Northwest, guiding the Mariners as they became a model franchise in a wonderful ballpark. His knowledge and experience on both the baseball and business sides was an asset to our entire sport in numerous ways, including on my Special Committee for On-Field Matters and our International Committee, and he always kept the best interests of our game in mind. I and Chuck’s many friends throughout the game will miss him both personally and professionally.
Tim Brosnan, Major League Baseball:
Chuck was an amazing partner and fellow board member to all of us at Enterprises. But more importantly, he was the truest of true friends. We will never forget that he always bounded into the room and always with an effervescent smile and an even more brilliant attitude.
Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball:
“Chuck was one of the first club Presidents with whom I developed a relationship nearly 25 years ago. Over the past quarter-century, he has been a sage advisor, a loyal supporter of the Commissioner’s initiatives and, most importantly, a good friend. I hope that in his retirement, Chuck will finally have a chance to get that golf game in shape.” – Rob Manfred, Chief Operating Officer, Major League Baseball
Phyllis Merhige, Major League Baseball:
Some of the people you meet in the course of a career always remain business acquaintances, some you come to know more personally and a select few you end up treasuring. Chuck has always been generous with his friendship, his loyalty and his support. He shares his thoughts, his family, his co-workers and his knowledge without reserve. We have gone through various personal and professional good times and bad times together and he has never wavered in his indefatigable spirits or his unflinching loyalty. He sincerely cares – about the Mariners, about Seattle, about Major League Baseball, his family, his staff and his friends. And he isn’t afraid to let people know how much he cares, which is rare. I admire him so much, am very grateful to have been mentored by him and to be able to call him a friend for life.
Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago White Sox:
Chuck Armstrong and I came into baseball together at roughly the same time, and we have remained friends throughout our time in the game. He has had a major, although often unseen, impact on the governance of this game. Chuck is a really good guy who is universally liked across the industry, and who I like to compliment as a real problem solver when it comes to the challenging and difficult issues facing the game, its teams and Major League Baseball. His attention to detail is legendary among the teams and on the committees where we often served together. You can always count on Chuck to have read every note and every minute from our meetings, and it certainly will be strange the first time Commissioner Selig looks for Chuck to offer a motion to approve the minutes, and we all come to the realization he is no longer at our side.
Chuck is passionate about his alma mater, Purdue University. One time, I mentioned to Chuck that Bill ‘Moose’ Skowron, that great Yankee slugger and a multisport star for the Boilermakers, never received a watch from Purdue. The next thing I knew, Chuck thoughtfully presented a gold Purdue watch to Moose before a Mariners game in Chicago. Our friend Moose wore it until the day he passed away.
I had an old photo of Moose playing football at Purdue framed as a poster for Chuck’s office in Seattle. One day, Neil Armstrong, the famous astronaut and another Purdue grad, walked into Chuck’s office, saw the poster, and said, ‘Hey, that’s Moose Skowron.’ Chuck loved to tell that story. Boilermakers stick together, apparently.
I certainly wish Chuck all the best as he steps away from the frantic and stressful lifestyle of running a professional baseball team. I hope he is able to enjoy life’s victories even more and that the losses won’t hurt nearly as much.
Phillies President David Montgomery:
Chuck Armstrong has served baseball well and the reason is simple — he loves the game and has a passion for it. On a personal level, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chuck both as an individual and as President of the Mariners. I have had the good fortune of getting to know him almost as well as anybody in the game, having served on various committees together. Through these opportunities, I have witnessed first-hand the outstanding contributions he has made to the game. I wish Chuck and Susan well as they move on to the next chapter of their lives.
The entire region is covered in blue on the final Friday before Super Bowl Sunday, and Safeco Field is no different. Our front office is dressed from top to bottom in Hawks gear in support of our neighbors next door.
Go Hawks! Bring home the Lombardi Trophy!
It is Blue Friday in Seattle as fans are getting ready for the Super Bowl match-up between the Broncos and Seahawks Sunday in New York. Safeco Field is no exception, as many employees are sporting their jerseys and Seahawks colors.
We’ll post a “team photo” a little later, but we wanted to share a few things that show our support for our neighbors across the street.