Monday, February 23, 2015 / 42 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. Los Angeles Angels)
Taijuan Walker was amongst the pitchers who tossed their second bullpens of the Spring. The group that went today is the same group that had a bullpen session on Saturday, the first day of pitchers and catchers workouts.
When pitchers are pitching, you can be sure that evaluators will be evaluating. Mariners Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn and Special Assistant to the GM Roger Hansen were on hand to check out pitchers fielding practice (as usual), and Dan Wilson checked in on the catchers during bullpen sessions.
First Day of Mini Camp:
The Mariners have conducted a winter program for their minor league players for years, but this is the sixth year for a structured mini-camp that features 41 of the organizations top prospects that are not already in Major League camp. The players went through physicals first thing this morning and were already out of the field at 2 pm in the afternoon. Mini Camp is designed to refine the skills of young players under the close eyes of that organization coaching staff. Like instructional league in fall, Mini Camp allows guys to carry over what they learned directly into the minor league season.
Among players taking part in the mini-camp included pitchers Edwin Diaz, Luiz Gohara, Daniel Missaki, Tyler Pike and Ryan Yarbrough and position players Joe DeCarlo, Gabby Guerrero, Austin Jackson, Gareth Morgan, Jack Reinheimer, Tyler Smith and Austin Wilson. Mini Camp will run through March 8.
Once Mini Camp concludes the rest of the organizational players will report for Minor League Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers report on March 9 and will have their first workout on March 11, while the position players will report March 14 with the full squad working out on March 16. Minor League Spring Training games run from March 21 through April 4 and will break camp and head to one of the Mariners four full season affiliations on April 7 and begin regular season games on April 9.
Willie Bloomquist on GMA…No, Not That GMA:
Arizona resident Willie Bloomquist was on Good Morning Arizona to talk about getting ready for Spring Training in the updated complex. In the video, you’ll also get some updates from Peoria’s Chris Calcaterra on the upgraded Peoria Stadium and from Mariners Safeco Field Team Store Manager Mary Beeman about the new and improved team store in Arizona.
MLB Network Checks In With Mariners:
Mariners General Manager Jack Zduriencik and Manager Lloyd McClendon both checked in with MLB Network this morning. Zudriencik was on the Hot Stove show with Harold Reynolds and Matt Vasgergian, while McClendon chatted with Sam Ryan.
Since We’re On The Subject of Visitors:
FoxSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi dropped in to camp and checked in with Lloyd McClendon, Felix Hernandez and James Paxton among others. Be on the lookout for his work when it gets posted.
KING 5 Has Arrived:
KING 5’s Chris Egan has arrived in Mariners camp so be sure to tune in to catch the latest highlights from camp. Egan will be in town for a while, checking in for one-on-ones with players and staff including McClendon and Taijuan Walker.
Waiting for Bullpens to Begin:
The position players have almost arrived, but the pitchers are still hard at work working on fielding drills and tossing bullpens. With so many pitchers in camp during Spring Training, the catchers are pulling double-duty. Here’s a brief moment of rest captured by Seattle Times photographer Bettina Hansen. He sure to follow her on twitter for great shots of Mariners camp.
Spring Training Media Availability:
Each year, the general managers and field managers of all 15 Arizona-based Clubs in Spring Training are invited to participate in two separate hour-long periods of media availability. This year, they took place at the Arizona Biltmore and Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. was also available. The sessions serve as a preview of the 2015 season as Spring Training gets underway.
Sunday, February 22, 2015 / 43 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. Los Angeles Angels)
Pitchers and catchers once again took the field for workouts, with all of them going through drills and shifting from field to field to work on different areas of their game. New and not-so-new Mariners are getting to know each other a little better, including left-handers Joe Saunders and J.A. Happ. Both lefties had their first bullpen sessions this morning.
Speaking of Bullpens:
Another group of pitchers had their first bullpen sessions today including Saunders, Happ, Hisashi Iwakuma, Rafael Perez, Danny Farquhar and Charlie Furbush. The most intriguing bullpen session was left-hander Danny Hultzen who is healthy after battling an injury last season. “The whole process went smoother than I thought, having talked to people who’d had arm surgeries and gone through a lot of ups and downs,” said Hultzen to MLB.com’s Greg Johns. “Luckily I never really went through that, knock on wood. I felt good the entire time and didn’t have any major setbacks or anything like that.”
Japan Watches The Bear:
Hisashi Iwakuma tossed his full bullpen and afterwards, was available to the media. As you’ll see below, the Japanese media contingent also wanted to get Manager Lloyd McClendon‘s thoughts on the right-hander.
So You Think You Can Dance…As Good as Fernando?:
As you know, players come to Spring Training to get ready for the season. While players like Fernando Rodney are serious about getting their work in, he also knows how to have fun. At several points during the workout, he paused for a dance break.
Green Screen Fun:
As you may have noticed, the Mariners Vision production crew is in town talking to each player and filming some videos for the board. Check out the video to see how they set up the green screen room.
Mariners Commercials Being Filmed This Week:
Mariners VP of Marketing Kevin Martinez and the rest of his crew arrived in Arizona today. As you can see from the photo below, Sr. Director of Marketing Gregg Greene is excited.
University of Washington Huskies vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys:
The Huskies were in town and played against Oklahoma State in the final game at Peoria Stadium before the Mariners Cactus League schedule begins. Unfortunately, the Huskies dropped a 12-2 decision. Oklahoma State alum and current Mariners video coordinator Jimmy Hartley was at the game and shared this photo on Instagram.
Saturday, February 21, 2015 / 44 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. Los Angeles Angels)
The Mariners Take The Field:
Felix Hernandez led the pitchers and catchers out on the field for the first day of workouts. Pitchers stretched, played catch, did some PFP (Pitchers Fielding Practice) and for some of them, threw their first bullpens of the spring. Baseball is back!
ROOT SPORTS Has You Covered:
Just like in previous years, ROOT SPORTS is down in Peoria shooting video during Spring Training not just for their shows, but for regional TV stations and newspapers to share with their audiences. Be on the lookout for Mariners clips on Mariners.com, MLB Network, ESPN, Fox Sports 1, your local news stations as well as local newspapers including the Seattle Times and The News Tribune. Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) has also got your covered with great insights and photography over on Mariners.com and his blog.
After stretching and warming up, pitchers got together with their groups to go over the day’s agenda. This particular group includes Carson Smith, Dominic Leone, Roenis Elias, Taijuan Walker, Jordan Pries and Forrest Snow getting instructions from pitching coach Rick Waits and Terry Clark.
If you make it down to Peoria to watch the Mariners workouts, you’ll notice there is music blaring from the tower that is in the middle of the “cloverleaf” (the four lower fields that are used for workouts). Mariners video coordinator Jimmy Hartley has been in charge of the music since Manager Lloyd McClendon arrived, and this year he upgraded his sound system for all to enjoy. DJ Jimmy has emerged as one of the most entertaining DJs in Peoria. His distinct style of mixing and blending classic party music, spans every genre from AC/DC to Jay-Z, 80′s to pop. He has performed with everyone from The Black Eyed Peas, Bon Jovi, Rob Thomas, Busta Rhymes…okay, he hasn’t performed with any of those stars, but he still puts together a rather eclectic and entertaining mix of music.
First Bullpens of the Spring:
Some of the Mariners pitchers tossed their first bullpens of the spring this morning. The groups included Taijuan Walker, Roenis Elias, Mike Kickham, David Rollins, Erasmo Ramirez, Mayckol Guaipe, Carson Smith, Dominic Leone, Jordan Pries, Forrest Snow and Mark Lowe. On Sunday, pitchers taking the mound will include Hisashi Iwakuma, J.A. Happ, Danny Hultzen, Stephen Landaruzi, Danny Farquhar, Lucas Luetge, Charlie Furbush, Rafael Perez, Tyler Olson, Justin Germano and Sam Gaviglio.
Iwakuma Meets Japanese Media:
Hisashi Iwakuma met with the Japanese media after today’s workout and talked about the off-season and arriving in Arizona for Spring Training.
Meet The Mariners:
If you’ve been to Peoria before, you know that there’s a good chance you’re going to meet some Mariners. If you’re thinking about coming down here, do it. As you’ll see below, plenty of players are more than willing to sign autographs and pose for pictures.
As you read earlier in this blog, here are a few videos that Kevin Vocht of ROOT SPORTS shot earlier today.
“Scout” Does Some Scouting:
Players aren’t the only ones you can meet during workouts. Five-year-old “Scout” the Golden Retriever arrived for his fourth spring training and the friendly pup would love for you to come over and say hi.
Tweet of the Day:
Friday, February 20, 2015 / 45 Days ‘til Opening Day (April 6 vs. Los Angeles Angels)
Setting the Scene:
The wait is over. Players are trickling in, all pitchers and catchers have reported and have taken (or will soon complete) their physicals, and several position players have arrived early to work out on their own. Physicals began early this morning and will be finished early evening.
Tomorrow, the fun starts, as pitchers and catchers will take the field for the first Mariners workout of the spring.
Getting the Office Ready:
From the moment staff arrived at the Mariners complex, it’s been about getting ready for the players and the media to arrive. A new Mariners backdrop was installed in the small interview room, the work room was prepared for the media, Kelly Munro organized the big board (with all the players in camp), and someone may or may not have made a run to Chik-Fil-A. Things are taking shape and the crew is ready for the first pitchers and catchers workout tomorrow morning.
Players Trickling In:
Of the 60 (ish) players that will be in camp with the Mariners, more than 50 have arrived. It’s pretty obvious that the guys are anxious to get started. While there are no official workouts for position players until next week, players worked on defensive drills and took batting practice on the field. New Mariners outfielder Justin Ruggiano was one of those who took advantage of a nice day by taking some hacks.
There’s always an ASU reunion as long as Willie Bloomquist and Alvin Davis are around. The two stopped by to chat (and pose for a photo) for a bit before getting to work. Bloomquist will be throwing out the first pitch at the ASU vs. TCU baseball game tonight.
Baseball America Top 100:
A pair of Mariners prospects were listed in Baseball America’s annual top 100 when it was released last night. Outfielder Alex Jackson (#20) and infielder D.J. Peterson (#85) were listed as two of the top prospects in baseball.
Mariners Marketing Crew Arrives:
A good chunk of the Mariners Marketing crew has arrived in Arizona and have begun setting up green screen areas to interview players and films all of the MarinersVision promo shots. Michael Ferguson, Ben Mertens, Olav Nossum and Chase Decker will be here for the next week getting all 60-plus players taken care of.
ROOT SPORTS Arrives:
ROOT cameraman Kevin Vocht drove all the way from Seattle with all of the sets and camera equipment needed to film some of the TV features that will air during the season. Vocht arrived yesterday and began getting the set ready for when Jen Mueller arrives on Monday.
Games Have Begun at Peoria Stadium:
Games are already taking place over the Peoria Stadium. There is a college series taking place this weekend as Nebraska takes on BYU in a four-game set that began yesterday, included a double-header today and will conclude on Saturday. On Sunday, the Oklahoma State Cowboys will take on the University of Washington Huskies.
Joe Garagiola Jr., Major League Baseball’s senior vice president of standards and on-field operations, along with former umpires Steve Palermo and Randy Marsh met with Manager Lloyd McClendon and the coaching staff to go over the new Pace of Play rules as well as answer any questions that they may have had.
Tweet of the Day:
New Team Store In Peoria:
If you’re down here in Peoria, be sure to check out the new Team Store at Peoria Stadium.
Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association today announced some changes to the pace of play program and a series of modifications to the instant replay system. Below is a detailed listing of the changes that will be implemented for the 2015 season.
PACE OF GAME
- The pace of game program will enforce the batter’s box rule, requiring that all batters must keep at least one foot in the batter’s box unless one of a group of exceptions occurs. The new rule at the Major League level mirrors 6.02(d), which was in place in Minor League Baseball in 2014. (See the end of this press release for how 6.02(d) appeared in the 2014 Official Baseball Rules.)
- A second new component to the pace of game program is the addition of timers that will measure non-game action and break time between innings and pitching changes during each Major League game. One timer will be installed on or near the outfield scoreboard, and a smaller timer will be installed on the façade behind home plate near the press box. Immediately following the third out of each half-inning, the timer will count down from 2:25 for locally televised games and from 2:45 for nationally televised games. An MLB representative attending each game will operate the timers from the ballpark and will track the following events:
- Pitchers will be permitted to throw as many warm-up pitches as they wish prior to the point when 30 seconds remain on the clock; however, pitchers will be deemed to have forfeited any of their traditional eight warm-up pitches that they are unable to complete prior to the 30-second deadline. Exceptions to these rules will be made in a variety of circumstances, including if the pitcher or catcher ended the prior half-inning at bat or on base.
- Batters will be encouraged to get into the batter’s box with 20 seconds remaining on the timer. This is the same time that the broadcasters return from commercial. The pitcher is expected to begin his motion to deliver the pitch as soon as the batter gets into the batter’s box and becomes alert to the pitcher. Batters who do not enter the box prior to five seconds remaining on the timer and pitchers who do not begin the motion to deliver the pitch prior to zero seconds remaining on the timer will be deemed to have violated the break timing rules.
- These rules will be enforced through a warning and fine system, with discipline resulting for flagrant violators. No fines will be issued in Spring Training or in April of the 2015 regular season. Donations will be made to the Major League Baseball Players Trust charitable foundation based on the level of adherence to the new rules.
INSTANT REPLAY MODIFICATIONS
- Managers may now invoke instant replay from the dugout and will no longer be required to approach the calling umpire to challenge a call. Managers may hold play from the top step of the dugout by signaling to players and the home plate umpire that he is considering a challenge. A decision can be communicated verbally or with a hand signal. To challenge an inning-ending call, managers will be required to leave the dugout immediately in order to hold the defensive team on the field.
- Whether a runner left the base early or properly touched a base on a tag-up play will be reviewable.
- A manager will retain his challenge after every call that is overturned. Last year, a manager retained his challenge only after the first overturned call.
- A manager must use a challenge in order to review whether a play at home plate included a violation of the rule governing home plate collisions. However, in the event that a manager is out of challenges after the start of the seventh inning, the Crew Chief may still choose to review whether there was a violation of the rule.
- During Postseason games, regular season tiebreaker games and the All-Star Game, managers will now have two challenges per game.
- Instant replay will not be utilized during 2015 Spring Training, but it will be in place for exhibition games at Major League ballparks prior to the start of the 2015 regular season.
Here is the full news release from MLB:
Mariners legendary Hall of Fame announcer Dave Niehaus would have celebrated his 80th birthday today. We lost our voice in November 2010. With spring training opening tomorrow, what better voice than Dave’s to usher in another season of Mariners baseball. My oh My!
Just in time for Spring Training, ROOT SPORTS will be back on the lineup for BendBroadband subscribers. The Mariners television rightsholder had not been available to Bend, Oregon area sports fans since 2012. Today, the provider and ROOT SPORTS issued a joint news release to announce that the regional sports network will be back among the channels offered to subscribers beginning March 1, 2015.
The announcement comes as Mariners pitchers and catchers prepare to report to Peoria, Arizona for Spring Training (February 20). Central Oregon fans will now be able to tune in for 16 Mariners Spring Training games that ROOT will carry in March, as well as the Mariners 2015 regular season games beginning with Opening Day, April 6, against the Los Angeles Angels.
ROOT SPORTS is the home of the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Sounders FC, Portland Timbers, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Big Sky Conference and Mountain West. The network reaches 3.4 million households across five states, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, and delivers more than 350 live events each year – all of which are available in high definition.
Each year, MLB Network hosts a bracket-style social media competition to determine the “Face of MLB”. In 2015, King Felix reached the semifinals only to fall to the eventual winner, David Wright of the New York Mets. Today, he is in a quarterfinal matchup with Sean Doolittle of the AL West rival Oakland Athletics. To participate, simply tweet the hashtags #FelixHernandez and #FaceOfMLB up to 25 times on Twitter. Fans can also leave those hashtags in the comments of MLB Network’s Facebook post. The contest runs from Wednesday at 6 a.m. PT until Thursday at 5 a.m. PT.
Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik announced today the club has signed infielder/outfielder Rickie Weeks to a Major League contract for the 2015 season. Per club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.
- Rickie Weeks, INF/OF, signed to Major League contract for 2015 season.
- Edgar Olmos, LHP, designated for assignment.
Weeks, 32, has spent his entire career in the Milwaukee Brewers organization, appearing in 1,142 Major League games from 2003-2014. In parts of 11 Major League seasons, Weeks has combined to bat .249 with 203 doubles, 32 triples, 148 home runs and 430 RBI. His best seasons were a three-year stretch from 2010-2012 when he combined to bat .255 with 87 doubles, 10 triples, 70 home runs and 195 RBI in 435 games. He was the National League starting second baseman in the 2011 All-Star Game and participated in the Home Run Derby.
Last season Weeks appeared in 121 games for the Brewers, batting .274 (69×252) with 19 doubles, 8 home runs and 29 RBI (.357 OBP, .452 SLG, .809 OPS).
During his Major League career he has played exclusively second base (8 games at DH). He is expected to fill a multi-use role with the Mariners heading into spring training.
“Rickie is a talented player who will be used at multiple positions,” said Zduriencik. “His toughness, right-handed bat and Major League experience are desirable factors for our 2015 ball club. We look forward to Rickie’s contributions this season and see him as a very nice fit, complementing the pieces we already have in place.”
Weeks was the second overall selection in the 2003 June Draft after an All-American career at Southern University. He won the NCAA batting title in 2002 (.495) and 2003 (.479), and was the 2003 Golden Spikes Award winner. He made his Major League debut in 2003 after only 21 games in the minor leagues.
To make room on the Major League 40-man roster, LHP Edgar Olmos was designated for assignment. The Mariners have 10 days to trade, release or outright Olmos’ contract to the minors. Olmos was acquired by the Mariners via a waiver claim from the Miami Marlins on Nov. 20, 2014.
Pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in Peoria, AZ on Feb. 20 (physicals) and hold the first workout Feb. 21. Position players are scheduled to report for physicals Feb. 24 and the first full-squad workout will be Feb. 25.
Today is Friday the 13th, one of three that will fall during the 2015 calendar year (also: March 13 & November 13). For the first time since 2009, the Mariners will not play a regular-season game on a Friday the 13th. Seattle will play a Cactus League game on Friday the 13th in March vs. the Milwaukee Brewers, a game that will be televised by ROOT Sports.
Since the Mariners won’t play a Friday the 13th game this season, this is the perfect chance to share a bit of meaningless trivia about the date. And it may be a good thing that the club doesn’t play on a Friday the 13th this season.
Seattle is 10-26 all-time on Friday the 13th, which includes going 1-1 in postseason play. The team has endured 5 consecutive losses on Friday the 13th and dropped 8 of the last 9 games.
Without knowing the Mariners 2016 schedule yet, the next likely Friday the 13th contest will be May 13, 2016.
And in case you were wondering…