Sunday, March 29, 2015 / 8 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. LA Angels)
Dustin Ackley went 2-for-3 with his first home run, but the Mariners came up short in a 8-5 loss to the San Diego Padres Sunday afternoon in Cactus League play at Peoria Stadium.
The Padres jumped out to an early 5-0 lead after three innings. Wil Myers and Matt Kemp both homered off Happ as part of the three-run first inning.
Minor league outfielder Jabari Henry plated the Mariners first run with a leadoff home run in the top of the 4th inning off Padres starter Andrew Cashner. Henry finished 2-for-5 with 2 RBI.
Ackley fueled the Mariners three-run 7th inning with a 2-run, opposite field home run off left-handed relief pitcher Chris Rearick.
Starting pitcher J.A. Happ (1-3) suffered the loss allowing 11 hits and 6 runs (5 ER) in 5.0 innings. He walked a pair, struck out three and allowed two home runs.
Chris Taylor Progressing:
Shortstop Chris Taylor continues to progress after fracturing the triquetrum bone in his right wrist the middle of March. Although he’s taken the field before today, he took grounders at the half field this morning but did not throw.
Felix Hernandez Checks In With Diario Panorama:
Diario Panorama’s Augusto Cardenas checked in with Felix Hernandez about his expectations for the season, his preparation and the clubs new additions this offseason. Be on the lookout for his work (in Spanish) on panorama.com.ve
Even Felix’s Bullpens Draw A Crowd:
When you’re the King, even the day-to-day things you do draw a crowd. Felix Hernandez had a bullpen session this morning in advance of his start on Tuesday against the Indians and had quite the following as you can see.
The Fernando Rodney Experience:
If you’ve spend any time around Fernando Rodney, you know that he likes to dance. Today was no different.
Mariners Trim Roster Down To 28 Players:
Today’s roster moves leave the Mariners with 28 players in their Major League camp: 27 roster players and 1 non-roster invitee.
Optioned to AAA Tacoma (2):
- Left-Handed Pitcher (1): Roenis Elias
- Right-Handed Pitcher (1): Carson Smith
Re-Assigned to Minor League Camp (8):
- Right-handed Pitchers (3): Mark Lowe, Jordan Pries, Kevin Correia
- Left-Handed Pitchers (1): Joe Saunders
- Infielders (2): Shawn O’Malley, Carlos Rivero
- Catcher (1): John Baker
- Outfielder (1): Endy Chavez
Saturday, March 28, 2015 / 9 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. LA Angels)
Catcher Mike Zunino hit a pair of home runs, but the Seattle Mariners let a late lead slip away allowing 5 runs in the top of the 9th inning in a 9-8 loss to the San Francisco Giants Saturday afternoon in front 11,173 fans at Peoria Stadium.
The Mariners have dropped four straight games to fall to 10-14-2 in Cactus League play.
Seattle led 8-4 entering the 9th inning, before the Giants scored 5 runs off relief pitcher Erasmo Ramirez (1-2). Shortstop Kelby Tomlinson hit a game-tying 2-run triple and scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch by Mark Lowe.
Zunino hit solo home runs to lead off the 2nd and 6th innings, giving him a team-leading 6 home runs this spring. Zunino also recorded a multi-homer game March 20 at Texas.
Starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma allowed 5 hits and 4 runs in 5.0 innings. The Right-hander struck out 4 batters and walked a pair in his third Cactus League start.
The Mariners erased an early 1-0 Giants lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. Robinson Canó drove in a run on a double to left field and Nelson Cruz put the Mariners ahead with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Zunino led off the bottom of the 2nd inning with the first of his two home runs to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead. After the Giants retook the lead on a 3-run home run by Justin Maxwell, Seattle answered right back with a 3-run inning of its own. Kyle Seager tied the game with a solo home run to right field to open the frame, and run-scoring singles by Willie Bloomquist and Justin Ruggiano followed to extend the lead.
Hit it Hard
Mike Zunino homered twice in today’s game, his fifth and sixth longballs of the spring. It was also his second two-homer game this spring (also: March 20 at Texas in Surprise). Mike’s six homers trail only Kris Bryant (Chicago-NL) this spring.
Who Is The Mariners Opening Day Starter?
Looking For Mariners Autographs? Come to Arizona:
Spring Training is pretty laid back for the players and staff and that gives fans an opportunity to get up close to their favorite Mariners. Every day, Mariners personnel stop to sign autographs and today was no different as Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager both took time to sign for fans.
Opening Day Thoughts:
MLB.com’s Greg Johns chatted with Manager Lloyd McClendon about what will be his 35th Opening Day and how special those are to start the year. On Sunday, Greg will check in with Felix Hernandez to chat about making another Opening Day start for the Mariners. Be on the lookout at Mariners.com to watch the full interviews when they get posted.
The Mariners had another nice crowd today in Peoria, drawing 11,173 for the Giants game. That brought the spring total to 114,605, an average of 8,816 in the 13 games played so far. The 114,605 is already the most fans Seattle has drawn to spring since drawing 120,358 to 15 games in 2010. At this pace, Seattle will close out the spring with an attendance of over 141,000 fans; the club’s all-time spring attendance mark was set in 2002 when 145,146 came to 15 games in Peoria.
Thursday, March 26, 2015 / 11 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. LA Angels)
Mariners vs. Royals in Peoria:
Seattle got a strong start from Felix Hernandez but were shut out offensively en route to a 3-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday afternoon in front of 6,523 fans at Peoria Stadium.
Hernandez allowed just two hits in 6.0 efficient innings, making only 65 pitches, 45 of them for strikes. The lone run scored on a leadoff double in the third inning by Christian Colon who eventually scored on a sacrifice fly. Following his outing, Hernandez threw additional pitches in the bullpen to raise his pitch count.
Seattle only collected a pair of hits in the game, a single to center by Nelson Cruz in the 5th, and a single to center by Shawn O’Malley in the 6th inning.
Relievers Tyler Olson (0.1 IP), Yoervis Medina (0.2 IP), Grady Wood (0.1 IP) and Charlie Furbush (1.0 IP) each had scoreless outings for Seattle.
Mariners vs. Brewers in Maryvale:
Left fielder Khris Davis hit a first-inning grand slam to lead the Milwaukee Brewers to a 15-1 victory over the Mariners Thursday afternoon in split-squad Cactus League action at Maryvale Baseball Park.
The Brewers jumped out to the early 4-0 when Davis hit a grand slam in the first inning off starter Roenis Elias. Milwaukee would add three more runs in the 4th inning, a pair in the 5th to extend the lead to 9-1, and then two more in the 7th inning. Second baseman Luis Jimenez capped the scoring with an 8th-inning grand slam.
The Mariners scored their lone run in the 3rd inning on a single by catcher Jesus Sucre. Shortstop Willie Bloomquist hit a one-out double and scored on the sharp single to left by Sucre.
Elias (0-2) suffered the loss allowing 8 hits and 6 runs in 3.0 innings (plus 2 batters).
The Mariners were out-hit 22-4 in the game. Bloomquist (2B), Sucre (RBI 1B), Austin Jackson (1B) and Robinson Canó (1B) recorded the Mariners hits.
Game Highlights (vs. KC):
Be Sure To Follow:
If you’re not already, be sure to follow Seattle Times photographer Bettina Hansen on Twitter and Instagram for her coverage of Mariners Spring Training. Here are just a few of her shots from today.
Kingdome Demolition Anniversary:
It was 15 years ago today that the Kingdome came down, bringing an end to a building that hosted the Seattle Mariners (1977-99), Seattle Seahawks (1976-2000), Seattle SuperSonics (1978-85), NASL Seattle Sounders (1976-83) and hosted NCAA Final Fours in 1984, 1989 & 1995.
Joey Cora, the scrappy second baseman who was a fan favorite during his years with the Mariners, has been tabbed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day April 6.
Cora, who was affectionately known as Little Joey Cora due to his small stature, played for the Mariners from 1995-1998. During that time, he endeared himself to fans with his hustle and enthusiasm and his tearful reaction to the Mariners heartbreaking loss to the Cleveland Indians in the 1995 American League Championship Series.
Cora had an 11-year career as a Major League player with the Padres (1987, 1989-1990), Mariners, White Sox (1991-1994) and Indians (1999). He was also a member of the coaching staffs of the White Sox (2004-2011), where he won a World Series championship ring in 2005, and with the Miami Marlins (2012).
His time in Seattle was Cora’s most productive at the plate. His best year was 1997 when he hit a career high .300, and was named an alternate to the American League All-Star team. His 24-game hitting streak that year was a Major League record for a switch hitter, and stood as a Mariners record until it was broken by Ichiro Suzuki. Teammate Randy Johnson told the Seattle P-I in 1997 that Joey was “the ideal leadoff hitter.” He also described him as “our sparkplug” who “makes things happen.”
Joey was also active in the community. He established the Joey Cora Children’s Foundation and hosted an annual event called Joey Cora Night of Stars where fans were entertained by famous Latin musicians and rubbed shoulders with baseball players. The events raised money for a treatment center for HIV-positive kids in his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico, and for children’s health and education programs here in Washington.
Opening Day pregame ceremonies will start around 12:30pm. Game time is 1:10 pm against the Los Angeles Angels.
Felix Hernandez and Robinson Canó grace the cover of one of the four regional covers of the MLB Preview Issue of Sports Illustrated. Here is an article about the four regional covers.
The issue should hit the newstands this week. Subscribers and newsstands in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska will receive the Mariners cover. Not in the area to buy the regional issue? Buy single issues here.
Be sure to pick one up!
Monday, March 23, 2015 / 14 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. LA Angels)
The Mariners bullpen allowed just one run in 6.1 innings but the offense couldn’t rally from an early deficit, falling 5-0 to the Angels in Cactus League play on Monday afternoon at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
The game was played in front of 7,720 fans as the Mariners had their Cactus League record fall to 9-9-2.
Erasmo Ramirez, making his fourth start of the spring, retired the side in order in the first but an error to lead off the second frame led to four runs, two of them earned, before he gave way to the bullpen.
Reliever Grady Wood, who played last season at High-A High Desert, allowed a run in 1.1 innings before the rest of the bullpen threw up zeroes the rest of the way. Jordan Pries allowed just two hits in his three shutout frames, before Charlie Furbush (7th) and Yoervis Medina (8th) closed out the loss.
The Mariners collected just two hits, a one-out double by Mike Zunino in the 5th, which was followed by a Logan Morrison single. Unfortunately, both runners were stranded.
Tempe Diablo Stadium, We Meet Again:
The Mariners returned to their first spring home today, making the trip over to Tempe Diablo Stadium…the Mariners called Tempe Diablo Stadium home from the team’s inception in 1977 until 1992 before moving over to Peoria…the Seattle Pilots also called Tempe Diablo home in 1969.
A Minor Note:
While the Mariners were in Tempe taking on the Angels there was, as always, plenty of action on the minor league fields. Hisashi Iwakuma stayed back to pitch in a minor league game, and we have the following report from Field 6: Kuma threw 5.0 innings vs. the Round Rock Express (Texas AAA). He allowed 6 hits, 2 earned runs, while walking 1 and striking out 8. Shin-Soo Choo led off each inning for Round Rock and finished 3-for-5.
“I felt good overall out there,” said Iwakuma. “It was different to face (Shin-Soo) Choo each inning, but also good to face a Major League hitter in the game. I had a good feel with the split, it is starting to dive a lot. I feel like I could start the season right now physically, just all mental from here out.”
Jesus Montero hit a 2-run homer. Robinson Cano, Justin Ruggiano and Austin Jackson bounced between the AAA and AA games, picking up at bats.
One Short Step for Man:
Willie Bloomquist made his spring 2015 debut at shortstop today in Tempe. The team was cautious with Willie this spring as he finished the 2014 season on the disabled list. With his return to short, Willie is a full go. Perfect timing as the team counts down the final two weeks prior to Opening Day in Seattle.
Instagram of the Day:
Sunday, March 22, 2015 / 15 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. LA Angels)
A pair of three-run home runs by Kyle Seager and Nelson Cruz powered the Mariners to an 8-0 win over the Rangers Sunday afternoon in Cactus League play at Peoria Stadium.
The game was played in front of 9,543 fans as the Mariners improved their Cactus League record at 9-8-2.
The Mariners rallied with two outs in the first inning on a Robinson Cano walk and Cruz single in front of a Seager three run home run to left-center. Cano was in the middle of the next rally, following Seth Smith’s one out walk with a single to left before a Cruz three-run shot off the center-field wall high above the yellow line.
Cruz has hit a home run in each of his last two games and now has three home runs on the spring. During Cactus League play, he is hitting .407 (11×27) with 5 runs, 3 home runs and 7 RBI.
Seattle tacked on two runs in the fifth inning on back-to-back doubles by Logan Morrison and Dustin Ackley
James Paxton, making his first start of the Cactus League this spring, earned the win while tossing 3.1 shutout innings while working around five hits, all singles. The relief corps consisting of David Rollins (1.2 IP), Danny Farquhar (1.2 IP), Carson Smith (1.1 IP) and Dominic Leone (1.0 IP) combined to throw the second Mariners shutout of the spring.
Game Video Highlights:
Bloop and a Blast
There’s an old baseball expression, “we just need a bloop and a blast”. The Mariners, and Kyle Seager, demonstrated that in the first inning today. With two outs, Robinson Cano worked a walk, and Nelson Cruz blooped a ball in to short right field. Suddenly, it was two-on and two-out, and when Seager deposited a 1-0 pitch over the left-center field wall Seattle had a 3-0 lead. In the third, it was a walk by Seth Smith, a single the other way by Cano, and Cruz blasting a towering home run off the Blue Monster in center field. Starting pitcher James Paxton said after the game that he’d happily take a pair of 3-run homers in every start he makes this year.
Night Court at a Day Game
Rick Rizzs had a special guest drop by the booth today. Harry Anderson, an actor, writer, director and magician best known for the long-running sitcom Night Court. Harry starred as an eccentric judge in the TV show that ran from 1984-1992. Anderson used to live in the Seattle area, where he became friends with Rick. Anderson also guest-starred on Cheers several times (as Harry the Hat), where he got to know writer Ken Levine. Levine later broadcast Mariners games, as well. Harry Anderson also was a featured guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and Saturday Night Live, including as a host.
Saturday, March 21, 2015 / 16 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. LA Angels)
The Mariners made things interesting with a late comeback, but the Chicago Cubs held on for a 12-10 win in a Cactus League slugfest Saturday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd of 15,323 at Sloan Park.
The Mariners drop to 8-8-2 in Cactus League play with the loss.
With the Mariners trailing 11-7, left fielder Austin Wilson, the Mariners second-round draft pick out of Stanford in the 2013 June Draft, made things interesting with an inside-the-park three-run home run to center field to cut the Cubs lead to 11-10. Chicago added an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th and held on for the 12-10 win.
The Cubs jumped out to a big lead behind four home runs, two by third baseman Kris Bryant. Bryant, the 2014 Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year, hit his 7th and 8th home runs of the spring going 2-for-2 with 5 RBI. Catcher Wellington Castillo and shortstop Addison Russell also hit home runs.
Starting pitcher Felix Hernandez was touched for 6 hits and 6 runs in 2.2 innings, including allowing a pair of home runs. Three runs scored in the bottom of the 3rd inning after a bad throw by shortstop Brad Miller negated a would-be inning-ending double play.
Nelson Cruz reached base in all three of his plate appearances, hitting a home run in the 3rd inning and also drawing a walk and being hit by a pitch. Brad Miller went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles, a sacrifice fly and 3 RBI.
Game Video Highlights – Mariners at Cubs
How About Those Kids
For the second straight day, a Mariners minor league extra player homered. Yesterday, it was 2014 first round pick Alex Jackson hitting a long homer to right-center field…and today, Austin Wilson (the Mariners 2013 second round pick) drilled a 3-run inside-the-park homer, sinking line drive that the Cubs center fielder was unable to handle.
Inside-The-Park Home Run
As mentioned above, Austin Wilson collected an inside-the-park home run today..Seattle’s last regular season inside-the-park homer was hit by Willie Bloomquist on June 25, 2007 at Houston (off Wandy Rodriguez)…records are far from perfect in spring training, but we can’t find the last ITPHR in Cactus League or exhibition play.
Minor League Games Begin
The Mariners minor leaguers began playing games this afternoon with the Triple-A and Double-A teams hosting the Royals minor leaguers and the High-A and Single A clubs traveling to Surprise to take on Kansas City.
By the looks of the AAA lineup today, the Rainiers have a chance to field a solid team for the upcoming season.
- James Jones, CF
- Ketel Marte, 2B
- Stefen Romero, RF
- D.J. Peterson, 1B
- Jesus Montero, DH
- Pat Kivlehan, 3B
- John Hicks, C
- Jack Reinheimer, SS
- Dan Paolini, LF
Tweet of the Day:
The Mariners drafted a high school kid out of the San Diego area with the 6th overall pick in 2014. If you don’t remember much about him, here’s a little refresher on Alex Jackson from Draft Day.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder was primarily a catcher in high school and was rated by Baseball America as the top position player in the draft (4th overall prospect). Jackson was also named to the 2014 Perfect Game First Team All-American and California All-Region First Team after his senior season.
In four seasons with Rancho Bernardo, Jackson batted .375 (150×400) with 156 runs scored, 35 doubles, 6 triples, 47 home runs and 127 RBI in 135 games with the Broncos. His 47 prep career home runs tied him with former Indians prospect Johnny Drennen (2002-05) for the all-time San Diego section record. Jackson had 5 homers as a freshman, 17 as a sophomore, 14 as a junior and 11 during his senior season. Jackson’s team played for California’s San Diego section championship in all four of his high school seasons, including winning the championship during his freshman and junior seasons.
Now, fast forward to yesterday afternoon. After entering the game as a defensive replacement in left field against the Rangers, he scored two runs, including a very impressive towering home run to right-center field.
As Jackson told the Mariners press corps, including Mariners.com’s Greg Johns, “I hit it and it felt good off the bat, but I just put my head down and started running,” he said. “You never know. Sometimes it feels good off the bat and hits the wall, so I just put my head down and started running. And once I started hearing everyone cheering, I was like, ‘OK, we can slow down this sprint a little bit.'”
Even though the game was not being televised, we were able to track down some video of the blast thanks to Mariners Video Coordinator Jimmy Hartley who records every at-bat for scouting and teaching purposes.
Thanks to the Seattle Times’ Ryan Divish, here is video of Jackson’s post-game interview about his home run and his experiences thus far during Spring Training.
What did Manager Lloyd McClendon have to say about the young man? As usual, he was quick and to the point.
“Pretty impressive,” said the skipper. “That’s a lot of power to right-center.”
A lot of power indeed.
Friday, March 20, 2015 / 17 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. LA Angels)
Mike Zunino went 2-for-3 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI and 2014 first-round draft pick Alex Jackson hit a game-tying home run in the 8th inning as the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers played to a 4-4 tie Friday afternoon in Cactus League play at Surprise Stadium.
The Mariners are 8-7-2 in spring training play, including a 4-1-2 record over the last seven games.
Zunino hit a solo home run with two outs in the 4th inning to tie the game 1-1 and then connected on a go-ahead 2-run home run in the 6th inning.
The Rangers jumped ahead in the bottom of the 7th inning on a 2-run home run by designated hitter Mitch Moreland off Mariners relief pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen.
Jackson, the 6th overall selection in the 2014 MLB June Draft, crushed an opposite field home run to right field to tie the game at 4-4. The 19-year-old out of Rancho Bernardo, Calif., was the 2014 Baseball America High School Player of the Year.
Starting Pitcher Roenis Elias allowed 5 hits and 2 runs (1 ER) in 4.0 innings while recording a no-decision. The left-hander struck out 4 and walked 2 in his fourth spring outing (3rd start). LHP Charlie Furbush (1.0 IP), RHP Yoervis Medina (1.2 IP) and LHP Joe Saunders (1.0 IP) did not allow runs in their relief outings.
Game Video Highlights (more will be posted as they are available)
Mariners 2014 draft pick Alex Jackson hit a monster home run to right-center today to tie the game. Be sure to check back tomorrow when we’ll have the video shot by Mariners video guru Jimmy Hartley.
Mariners Spring Roster Gets Smaller
The Mariners trimmed the Spring roster this morning by optioning left-hander Lucas Luetge, catcher John Hicks, infielders Ketel Marte and Jesus Montero, outfielders James Jones and Stefen Romero to AAA Tacoma, and re-assigning right-hander Justin Germano, left-hander Rafael Perez, infielders D.J. Peterson and Patrick Kivlehan and outfielder Franklin Gutierrez to minor league camp.
Today’s roster moves leave the Mariners with 39 players in their Major League camp: 30 roster players and 9 non-roster invitees.