Mariners closer Fernando Rodney is off to Korea on a goodwill trip where he will visit U.S. soldiers on a military base and participate in a youth baseball camp while there. His schedule also includes lunch at the Dominican Republic Embassy, a visit to a school for the blind and a meet-and-greet with the 2014 Little League champions from South Korea (whom he has a fun connection with).
MLB.com writer Jesse Sanchez caught up with Fernando from the Miami Airport before taking off on his trip. Upon returning from Korea, Rodney will head straight to Seattle to participate in FanFest Jan. 24-25.
Yesterday was also a big day for Fernando as his bobblehead night on May 9 vs. the A’s was announced.
Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has acquired left-handed pitcher Mike Kickham (kick-uhm) from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor league RHP Lars Huijer (pronounced higher).
To make room on the 40-man roster for Kickham, LHP Anthony Fernandez has been designated for assignment. The Mariners 40-man roster remains full at 40 players.
Kickham, 26, has spent his entire career in the San Francisco Giants organization prior to being claimed off waivers by the Cubs on Dec. 23, 2014. He was designated for assignment by the Cubs on Jan. 9 when they signed OF Chris Denorfia.
Pitching primarily with AAA Fresno last season, Kickham went 8-8 with a 4.43 ERA (73 ER, 148.1 IP) in 27 starts. Amongst Pacific Coast League leaders the left-hander ranked tied for 4th in strikeouts (131), 4th in games started (27) and 7th in innings pitched (148.1). In limited big league action with the Giants over the last two seasons is 0-3 with a 10.98 ERA.
Kickham was originally selected by the Giants in the 6th round of the 2010 June draft out of Missouri State University.
Huijer, 21, went 6-9 with a 5.08 ERA in 28 games (24 starts) with A Clinton and A High Desert last season. The Dutch native has combined to go 17-17 with a 4.48 ERA in five minor league seasons. He was signed by the Mariners as a non-drafted free agent on June 1, 2011.
Fernandez, 24, went 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA (11 ER, 25.2 IP) in 5 starts with AAA Tacoma last season before going on the disabled list with a left elbow injury. He had season-ending “Tommy John” surgery on his left elbow May 22 performed by Dr. James Andrews.
As you may know, Robinson Cano began a short stint playing winter ball for the Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Republic last night.
The basics? He went 1-for-4 with RBI grounder and a two-run double.
Cano playing winter ball is a big deal down there since he hasn’t played there since 2009. Fans were very appreciative that they got to see one of their own superstars play in front of them.
Here’s the recap of Robinson Cano helping the Estrellas extend their winning streak to four games (Spanish): Canó, auspicioso debut en triunfo Estrellas
Here are a few pictures and video from last night.
We learned today of the passing of an important part of Seattle sports history. Herb Simpson, the last-known surviving member of the Negro Leagues Seattle Steelheads, died surrounded by family in a New Orleans hospital on Tuesday. He was 94.
Herb became a member of the Mariners family with his participation in the African American Heritage Day celebrations at Safeco Field in 2013 and 2014. He was a dear man who gladly shared stories of his time in the 1940 and 50s playing a game he loved.
Herb “Briefcase” Simpson, played first base and outfield for the Steelheads, one of six teams in the short-lived West Coast Baseball Association. The league only survived a few months in the summer of 1946, but the Steelheads lived on another year as a traveling all-stars team. Simpson went on to play for the Albuquerque Dukes and Spokane Indians from 1952-1954.
Simpson’s niece, Lisa Broussard, said via email that the Simpson family wanted to thank the city of Seattle for embracing her uncle as “one of your own.”
Those of us at the Mariners who got to know Herb are feeling his loss, but glad to have had a chance to get to know the humble, unassuming man who was an important part of Seattle sports history.
Rest in peace, Herb Simpson.
It is a special day at Safeco Field, as one of our own, Randy Johnson, has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame with 97.3% of votes. Randy spent 10 seasons with the Mariners, amassing 2,162 of his 4,875 strikeouts in a Seattle uniform. Mariners Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Howard Lincoln issued the following statement today on Johnson’s election to the Hall of Fame:
On behalf of the Mariners franchise and ownership, we wish to add our congratulations to Randy Johnson on his well-deserved election to the Baseball Hall of Fame today.
Randy began his career in Montreal, but began his ascent to the Hall of Fame here in Seattle.
After his arrival in 1989, he tossed his first no-hitter with the Mariners in 1990, had his breakthrough season in 1993 (when he was 19-8) and claimed his first Cy Young Award in 1995. No one who watched this fierce competitor dominate during his decade in Seattle — including his wins in Game 3 and, on one day rest, Game 5 of the 1995 Division Series vs. New York – had any doubt of him taking his rightful place in the Hall today.
During his 10 seasons in Seattle, Randy was a key member of the group of players that cemented the Mariners place in the region.
We are equally proud of the work Randy did off the field in Seattle, and note that even after his retirement, he continues to give his time in support of important causes, including his many visits to troops overseas.
Just as we watched with pride as Randy collected a Cy Young (1995), an ERA title (1995), made five All-Star Game appearances (1990, 1993-1995, 1997) and earned four strikeout crowns (1992-1995) in a Mariners uniform, we will watch with pride as Randy is inducted in Cooperstown this summer.
Johnson was acquired by Seattle (from Montreal) on May 25, 1989. He was 130-74 with 2 saves and 2,162 strikeouts in 274 games (266 starts) with the Mariners. He totaled 51 complete games as a Mariner, including 19 shutouts, and tossed 1838.1 innings with Seattle prior to being traded to Houston on July 31, 1998. He is one of eight members of the Mariners Hall of Fame (inducted in 2012 with Dan Wilson).
Here is a full bio of Johnson’s Hall of Fame career:
The Seattle Mariners organization was saddened today to learn that Bill Kearns passed away in his sleep Wednesday night at the age of 94. Bill served as a scout for the Mariners since the inception of the franchise in 1976-77, covering the New England region.
Bill was a gentleman, in the finest sense, and represented his family and the Mariners in a first-class manner. And he was an excellent scout, a true ambassador of the Mariners and the game of baseball. Bill was one of the most positive people I have ever met. He will be missed.
At the 2013 Winter Meetings in Orlando, Bill was honored as one of the Scouts of the Year. We published this blog post at that time with a fun look at his first contract when joining the Mariners.
Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has acquired outfielder/designated hitter Seth Smith from the San Diego Padres in exchange for relief pitcher Brandon Maurer.
Smith, 32, hit .266 (118×443) with 55 runs, 31 doubles, 5 triples, 12 home runs, 48 RBI, a .367 on base percentage and .807 OPS in 136 games with San Diego last season. The left-handed hitter appeared in 102 games in left field (81 starts) and 43 games in right field (37 starts).
Against right-handed pitchers last season he hit .270 (106×393) with 44 extra-base hits, a .359 on-base percentage and a .455 slugging percentage (.814 OPS). Against left-handers in 2014, posted a .424 on base percentage in 66 plate appearances. In his career against right-handed pitching, he has hit .277 (572×2065) with 142 doubles, 24 triples, 77 home runs, 271 RBI, a .358 on base percentage and a .481 slugging percentage (.839 OPS).
In parts of eight Major League seasons, Smith is a career .265 (657×2479) hitter with 359 runs, 159 doubles, 26 triples, 85 home runs, 321 RBI and an .800 OPS in 865 games with Colorado (2007-2011), Oakland (2012-13) and San Diego (2014).
Smith was originally drafted by the Rockies in the second round of the 2004 June amateur draft out of the University of Mississippi. He also played football at Ole Miss, serving as the backup quarterback to Eli Manning. He was a member of the USA National Team that won a silver medal at the Pan American Games in 2003.
Maurer, 24, appeared in 38 games for the Mariners last season, including 7 starts. He posted a 1-4 record with a 4.65 ERA. In 31 relief appearances he posted a 2.17 ERA (9 ER, 37.1 IP) with 38 strikeouts in 31 relief appearances. Maurer was originally selected by Seattle in the 23rd round of the 2008 June Draft out of Orange Lutheran High School (Orange, Calif.).
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: