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Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 14

Mariners Spring Training Update

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 / 34 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 43 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels).

Setting the Scene:
With the first intrasquad game today, workouts began at 9:30 am and all the players were off the field by 11:30. The other major difference was most of the workouts were on the upper fields instead of the four lower fields like they have been using. After  the outfielders and infielders worked on individual defense drills, the position players worked on running the bases.

Woodward and Cano

Robinson Cano chatting with infield coach Chris Woodward during workouts.

Walker Long Toss

RHP Taijuan Walker throwing long toss with pitching coach Rick Waits and trainer Rick Griffin watching.

Rodney signing Autographs

Fernando Rodney signing for fans after workouts.

Griffey, Dan and Snyder

Ken Griffey Jr. chatting with Dan Wilson and Cory Snyder.

Mariners defeat Mariners:

The Seattle Mariners first intrasquad game of Spring Training ended 4-3 in favor of the visiting team on field #1 in Peoria, Arizona, today.

The “home” Mariners jumped out to a quick lead on a first inning two-run home run by right fielder Stefen Romero and extended the lead to 3-0 on a second inning fielder’s choice RBI by Brad Miller. Unfortunately for the home team, that would be all the runs they would score.

Shortstop Nick Franklin got the “visiting” Mariners within a run with an opposite field two-run home run to right that scored Xavier Avery who had walked with one out. Outfield prospect Jabari Blash led off the fourth inning by getting hit by a pitch but stayed in after hitting coach Howard Johnson said, “stay in there and hit.” After working the count to 3-1, Blash hit a deep drive to left field that not only cleared the fence, it cleared (at least) the storage container that is roughly 70 feet beyond the fence, tying the game. Avery got the winning run across in the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly to left field.

Blash, along with Jesus Montero, each went 2-for-2 in the game.

Pitchers Roenis Elias, Hector Noesi, Stephen Kohlscheen and Chance Ruffin each tossed scoreless innings.

“That was pretty impressive,” Manager Lloyd McClendon said after Jabari Blash’s home run. “I thought it was going to hit my car. That’s why I jumped up. I thought, `Holy (smokes), that’s my car out there. Actually, it went over the car.”

Play at the Plate

Ty Kelly getting tagged out at the plate by Manuel Pina during intrasquad game.

Blash HR

Jabari Blash hitting a home run off Logan Bawcom during an intrasquad game.

 Vote #FelixHernandez for #FaceofMLB:

Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez is currently taking on David Wright of the New York Mets in the semi-finals of the MLB Network’s “Face of MLB” competition. The match started at 6 AM (PT) this morning and will conclude at 5 AM (PT) on Wednesday, February 25. Fans can vote for Felix (@RealKingFelix) on Twitter by tweeting #FelixHernandez #FaceofMLB.

Results will be announced on Wednesday morning on MLB Network’s offseason morning show Hot Stove at 6:00 AM (PT). The show replays at 8 AM (PT). In his first round match, Hernandez knocked off National League MVP Andrew McCutchen. In round two, King Felix coasted by Philadelphia’s Chase Utley. The third round saw Hernandez take down last year’s Face of MLB champion Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds. A record 107,000 votes were cast in the Hernandez vs. Votto match-up, with Felix prevailing by a razor-thin 50.2% to 49.8%. Teammates and fans rallied to support Felix and move him to the semi-finals. For the second straight year, The MLB Network has set out to find the Face of MLB by creating a bracket-style tournament with the results determined by fans on twitter. The competition began on December 16, featuring players from all 30 clubs.

Felix Talking to Fans

Felix Hernandez calling fans to thank them for the support during #FaceofMLB competition today.

John Stearns Medical Update:

Sending well wishes and positive thought to Mariners third base coach John Stearns today. After arriving in Arizona for Spring Training, Stearns suffered discomfort in his upper abdomen. A follow-up exam resulted in the diagnoses of a hiatal hernia. Stearns underwent surgery Monday at Arrowhead Hospital. The laparoscopic surgical repair was performed by Dr. Jamison Foster. Stearns will not be allowed to resume baseball activities for four to six weeks. The club is discussing internal options at the third base coaching spot that have yet to be determined.

Updated Player Signings:

The Mariners today issued the following signings update for players that have agreed to contracts for the 2014 season: Blake Beavan (RHP), Danny Farquhar (RHP), Yoervis Medina (RHP), Tom Wilhelmsen (RHP), Ji-Man Choi (INF), Abraham Almonte (OF), Xavier Avery (OF), James Jones (OF). These 8 signings bring the total of signed players on the Mariners Major League 40-man roster to 29. The final 11 Mariners will be signed or renewed by March 11.

Mariners Media Guides Arrive:

The Mariners Baseball Information staff always gets excited when the first shipments of media guides arrive in Peoria. The 2014 Seattle Mariners Information Guide is a great resource for information on players (Major League & Minor League), as well as historical information about the franchise. You can pick up a hard copy of the publication for $10 at any of the Seattle Mariners Team Stores, including the souvenir shop at Peoria Stadium.

Media Guide

2014 Seattle Mariners Information Guide.

Cactus League Report:

Be sure to tune into the Mariners Cactus League Report tonight from 6-8 p.m. PT (7-9 pm MT) on 710 ESPN Seattle or Mariners.com. Or, if you are in Arizona for Spring Training, come out and watch the show live and meet some of the players from 7-9 p.m. at the Salty Senorita near the Mariners Spring Training Complex in Peoria. A star-studded lineup is schedule for the 2-hour show hosted by Rick Rizzs, Aaron Goldsmith and Shannon Drayer, including: Jack Zduriencik, Brad Miller, Kyle Seager, Stephen Pryor, Erasmo Ramirez, and Seattle Times Columnist Larry Stone.

Welcome to Peoria:

Mariners radio broadcasters Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith made the trek down from Seattle yesterday and arrived at the Peoria Sports Complex early this morning to get accumulated to the new surroundings. Rizzs is in his 29th season as the primary voice on radio, while Goldsmith enters year two. Executive Producer/Engineer Kevin Cremin also arrived with Rick and Aaron and spent most of the day setting up the radio booth in preparation for Thursday’s game vs. the Padres at Peoria Stadium. He also was busy getting everything ready for the Cactus League Report tonight at Salty Senorita.

Rick and Aaron

Mariners radio broadcasters Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith.

Count down to games:

The Mariners begin their 38th spring training with the Cactus League opener Thursday against the San Diego Padres at Peoria Stadium. Thursday’s lid-lifter opens the 33-game Cactus League schedule for the Mariners that will conclude March 28-29 with a pair of exhibition games vs. the Rockies in Arizona. RH Erasmo Ramirez will start on the mound for the Mariners against Padres LH Eric Stults.

 PROBABLE PITCHERS (subject to change)…

THURSDAY:     Mariners vs. Padres       1:05 pm MT       710 ESPN Seattle

SEA     —         E. Ramirez, Beavan, Kensing, Luetge*, Wilhelmsen, Beimel*, Farquhar

SD       —         Stults*, Quackenbush, Roach, Boyer, Schuster, Sipp*, Carter

 FRIDAY:           Mariners at Padres        1:05 pm MT       710 ESPN Seattle

SEA     —         Paxton*, Palmer, Hill*, Miner, Smith, Furbush*, Leone

SD       —         Cashner

 SATURDAY:     Mariners vs. Angels       1:05 pm MT       710 ESPN Seattle

SEA     —         Baker, LaFromboise*, Rogers, Medina, Kohlscheen, R. Ramirez, Arias, Bawcom

LAA      —         TBA

* left-handed pitcher

 Welcome to the Peoria Stadium:

The City of Peoria is putting the finishing touches on Peoria Stadium in anticipation for Thursday’s Cactus League Opener between the Mariners and Padres. The Peoria Sports Complex was the first Major League Baseball Spring Training and player development facility in the country shared by two teams. Built in 1994, the complex has served as a model for other facilities of its kind. Through 20 year leases, the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners utilize Peoria Sports Complex year round. In addition to Major League Spring Training, the complex is used for each team’s player development systems. In the off-season, the complex is the site for player rehabilitation, Extended Spring Training, Arizona Summer League, and Arizona Instructional League baseball. The complex is also home to an Arizona Fall League team, the Peoria Javelinas.

Peoria sign

Prep work at the Peoria Stadium.

Weather:
Cloudy and mid-70s all afternoon today in Peoria, but don’t worry temperatures are supposed to climb to near 80 the rest of the work week.

Quote of the Day:

“We need more Lady Gaga,” said Mariners radio announcer Rick Rizzs.

 Rick enjoyed the addition of the music being played during the morning workouts and he was especially fond of the song “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga. You could tell Rizzs wasn’t joking when he referred to Lady Gaga by her given name, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, and asked for “The Edge of Glory” and “Poker Face” to be added to the workout playlist. He might be a big Lady Gaga fan, but nothing like his radio partner Aaron Goldsmith, who is a huge fan of Katy Perry. I have a feeling we may hear a Katy Perry song in the next couple of days.

Tweets of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 26):
Workouts continue tomorrow at 9:30 am. It is the last official day of full squad workouts until games begin on Thursday.

Spring Training Update – Day 13

Mariners Spring Training Update
Monday, February 24, 2014 / 35 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 44 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels).

Setting the Scene:
The Mariners workouts continued as scheduled but as you’ll read in a bit, there was an unscheduled visitor that showed up around the cage on field six.

Michael Saunders, Corey Hart and Dustin Ackley get ready to face James Paxton.

Michael Saunders, Corey Hart and Dustin Ackley get ready to face James Paxton.

Pitchers throwing Live BP: James Paxton, Charlie Furbush, Carson Smith, Mark Rogers, Roenis Elias, Bobby LaFromboise, Scott Baker, Ramon Ramirez, Danny Farquhar, Randy Wolf, Zach Miner.

We’ll Skip to the Fun News
There were rumors for a few days that Ken Griffey Jr., was going to show up in Mariners camp, but today was the day. Junior drove in on a golf cart and went straight to field six where he was greeted by Jack Zduriencik. After a few minutes, he made his way to the cage where he talked to some players including Justin Smoak and Mike Zunino before eventually spending some time with the staff including Lloyd McClendon and Rich Donnelly. Once done, he made some time for the Mariners beat writers including Ryan Divish, Larry Stone, Shannon Drayer and Tim Booth. When Ryan asked Junior if he still had the Montana shirt that he had given him, he replied, “Oh yeah, I use it to wash my car!” Apparently “Grizzlies” shirts are good for cleaning.

Once in the clubhouse, he couldn’t go far before he was stopped by someone for a short greeting,  including players Felix Hernandez, Taijuan Walker and Brandon Maurer. As usual, Junior kept the crowds entertained by just being himself. It sounds like he’s here for one more day before he heads back out of town.

Ken Griffey Jr. shares a laugh with Manager Lloyd McClendon.

Ken Griffey Jr. shares a laugh with Manager Lloyd McClendon.

Think Pink!
Clubhouse guy extraordinaire Chris DeWitt brought down a pink bike from Seattle (he claims for his wife), and last week, Felix Hernandez decided to take it for a spin. At one point, Felix stopped and posed for a picture…today, it came back to “haunt” him. Clubhouse Manager Ryan Stiles took that picture and had it blown up, placed on a poster board and displayed in the clubhouse. Not sure if Felix was enthused with what he saw, but in his defense, real men rock the pink!

Felix Hernandez has fun with Chris DeWitt's pink bike.

Felix Hernandez has fun with Chris DeWitt’s pink bike.

Order One For Your Family
Best of Legacy, a company that compiles a book full of press clips, photos and other personal material, was in camp today to see if some of the guys were interested in ordering one for themselves. The books are oversized and look great as they chronicle one season or multiple seasons of a players career. By the looks of the names on the sign-up sheet, these were very popular amongst the players and will be a hit with their families.

Here's an example of what the inside of the book looks like.

Here’s an example of what the inside of the book looks like.

Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 1, the new network that launched in August, was in camp today to interview Mariners players about a variety of topics including the upcoming season. Among those they talked to were Felix Hernandez, Corey Hart, Logan Morrison, Michael Saunders, Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak and Mike Zunino. Keep an eye out for their baseball programming and you may come across these interviews.

#FelixHernandez #FaceofMLB
As you know, Felix Hernandez is in the semi-finals, going up against the Mets David Wright starting tomorrow to see who goes to the finals of the Face of MLB bracket style tournament. The match begins at 6 AM (PT) on Tuesday, February 24 and concludes at 5 AM (PT) on Wednesday, February 25. Fans can vote for Felix (@RealKingFelix) on Twitter by tweeting #FelixHernandez #FaceofMLB. Throughout the day, you’ll see pictures of current and former Mariners who are helping Felix make it to the finals. Keep an eye on twitter to see how you can help!

Felix FACE 0225 VOTE SEA NYM TWITTER

Preparing for an Intrasquad game on Tuesday:
The Mariners will face the Mariners in the first intrasquad game of the year on tomorrow. The game is expected to start at 12:45 pm (11:45 pm PT) and last approximately 4 ½ innings. Here are the lineups for both sides.

Mariners 1 (Away)

POS

36

Abraham Almonte (S)

CF

39

Xavier Avery (L)

LF

6

Nick Franklin (S)

SS

66

Ji-Man Choi (L)

1B

xx

Jabari Blash

DH

70

Manuel Piña

C

1

Carlos Triunfel

3B

79

Burt Reynolds

RF

72

Gabriel Noriega

2B

64

Anthony Fernandez

LHP

                                                                                       

Mariners 2 (Home)

POS

5

Brad Miller (L)

SS

99

James Jones (L)

CF

7

Stefen Romero

RF

63

Jesus Montero

1B

75

Nate Tenbrink (L)

3B

74

Chris Taylor

DH

69

Ty Kelly (S)

2B

16

Cole Gillespie

LF

2

Jesus Sucre

C

81

Roenis Elias

LHP

Count down to games:
The Mariners face the San Diego Padres in the annual Charity game at the Peoria Stadium on Thursday, February 27 and then get their “official” Spring Training Schedule underway the following day facing the Padres for the second straight game. RHP Erasmo Ramirez is expected to start on Thursday, while LHP James Paxton is scheduled to take the bump on Friday.

Probable Pitchers:
Thursday vs. San Diego – RH Erasmo Ramirez, RH Blake Beavan, RH Logan Kensing, LH Lucas Luetge, RH Tom Wilhelmsen, LH Joe Beimel, RH Danny Farquhar.
Friday at San Diego – LH James Paxton, RH Matt Palmer, LH Nick Hill, RH Zach Miner, RH Carson Smith, LH Charlie Furbush, RH Dominic Leone.
Saturday vs. Los Angeles (AL) – RH Scott Baker, LH Bobby LaFromboise, RH Mark Rogers, RH Yoervis Medina, RH Stephen Kohlscheen, RH Jonathan Arias, RH Logan Bawcom.

Weather:
For those of you in Seattle…I’m sorry, but it was another gorgeous day down here…I know there was snow up there in some areas…we’re sorry!

Tweet of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 25):
Workouts continue tomorrow at 9:30 am. Tomorrow the club will have an intrasquad game and if you’re lucky enough to be down here, you’ll see some of the young players that are looking to make an impact with the team.

Now Batting, Robinson Cano…

MLB Network is rolling out a “Now Batting” promo to preview the upcoming 2014 season. These spots will begin airing Wednesday on MLB Network. Mariners Public Address Announcer Tom Hutyler is the voice you hear calling out the name of the newest Mariner, second baseman Robinson Cano. Other similar spots were recorded with the Cardinals, Dbacks, Giants, Mets, Rangers, Tigers, Twins, White Sox and Yankees.

Spring Training Daily Update – Day 12

Mariners Spring Training Update

Sunday, February 23, 2014 / 36 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 45 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels).

Setting the Scene:
The Mariners began workouts again this morning at 9:30 am sharp. After their individual throwing programs, the position players worked on cutoffs and relays on fields 5 and 6. Players then broke into groups with infielders on fields 5 and 6 and outfielders on field 2 to work on individual defensive drills. After individual work players broke into groups for batting practice. Endy Chavez, Brad Miller, Nick Franklin and Carlos Triunfel each worked on bunting on field 1 at the conclusion of batting practice.

 Pitchers throwing Live BP: Felix Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, Tom Wilhelmsen, Dominic Leone, Yoervis Medina, Nick Hill, Joe Beimel.

Pitchers throwing a Bullpen: Andrew Carraway, Stephen Pryor, Anthony Fernandez, Chance Ruffin, James Gillheeney.

BP

Kyle Seager and Brad Miller watching as Robinson Cano takes BP.

Welcome to the Show:

RHP Felix Hernandez threw his first live BP session today facing Ji-Man Choi, Chris Taylor and Gabriel Noriega on field 5. The three prospects definitely looked a little uncomfortable facing Felix. Felix is expected to throw another round of live BP or a simulated game on Wednesday.

Felix Live BP

Felix throwing live BP.

Making Progress:

RHP Stephen Pryor threw this first bullpen session of the spring. He threw 20 pitches, all fastballs, and said afterwards he felt great and was glad to get the first one out of the way. Pryor missed most of the 2013 season after being placed on the disabled list with a tear in his right latissimus dorsi muscle. Prior to his injury, Pryor did not allow a run in 7 appearances (7.1 innings) and stranded 7 of 8 inherited runners.

Pryor

Pryor throwing first Spring Training bullpen.

The “Towel Drill”:

RHP Hisashi Iwakuma threw a bullpen today, but instead of a ball he threw with a towel. Iwakuma was diagnosed a strained tendon in his middle finger at the start for Spring Training and has yet to be able to throw a baseball. By using the “towel drill” this morning helps him work on his mechanics and motion without actually throwing a ball.

Iwakuma using the “towel drill” during bullpen session.

Preparing for an Intersquad game on Tuesday:

The Mariners will face the Mariners in the first Intersquad game of the year on Tuesday, February 25. The game is expected to start at 12:45 pm (11:45 pm PT) and last approximately 4 ½ innings.

LHP Roenis Elias will start for one side, followed by RHP Hector Noesi, LHP James Gilheeney, RHP Logan Bawcom and RHP Jonathan Arias. On the other LHP Anthony Fernandez will start, followed by RHP Andrew Carraway, RHP Stephen Kohlscheen and RHP Chance Ruffin. Lineups should be posted in the near future.

 Count down to games:

The Mariners face the San Diego Padres in the annual Charity game at the Peoria Stadium on Thursday, February 27 and then get their “official” Spring Training Schedule underway the following day facing the Padres for the second straight game. RHP Erasmo Ramirez is expected to start on Thursday, while LHP James Paxton is scheduled to take the bump on Friday.

 Probable Pitchers:

Thursday vs. San Diego – RH Erasmo Ramirez, RH Blake Beavan, RH Logan Kensing, LH Lucas Luetge, RH Tom Wilhelmsen, LH Joe Beimel, RH Danny Farquhar.

Friday at San Diego – LH James Paxton, RH Matt Palmer, LH Nick Hill, RH Zach Miner, RH Carson Smith, LH Charlie Furbush, RH Dominic Leone.

Saturday vs. Los Angeles (AL) – RH Scott Baker, LH Bobby LaFromboise, RH Mark Rogers, RH Yoervis Medina, RH Stephen Kohlscheen, RH Jonathan Arias, RH Logan Bawcom.

“WOW, That was Nasty”:

The MLB Network is currently counting down the Top 100 Players Right Now in 20-player increments. The list, based on player performance over the past several seasons with an emphasis on 2013 and projected 2014, includes all players in MLB. During the crowded post-workout window of time today, Hisashi Iwakuma was featured, leading to a lot of hooting, hollering and cheering in the clubhouse as strikeout after strikeout by Kuma rolled across the screen. Starting in March, the Top 100 Players Right Now will be available on the on-demand platforms of the MLB Network affiliates, including AT&T, U-verse, Cablevision, Comcast, Dish Network  and Verizon FiOS in the US.  Iwakuma took all the abuse with a good-natured smile on his face while sitting at his locker.

Cover Shoot:
Seattle Times photographer Dean Rutz was setup bright and early this morning on Field 7. Dean was shooting a cover photo of Robinson Cano for the Times Special Section that will be published right before the regular season begins. Robinson was impressed that Dean said he needed 10 minutes and was done in less than 8 minutes. He even got a chance to see someone of the photos on Dean’s camera and liked what he saw.

Cano Times Photo shoot

Cano smiling during a Seattle Times photo shoot.

It is never too early:

As if taking 150 ground balls during workouts weren’t enough, shortstop Brad Miller was out of Field 1 this morning at 8 am taking even more grounders. Miller is a big believer is getting in as much work as possible during spring training and it is never very hard to grab a couple of coaches to go workout on the fields early with you.

Lombardi Time:

Have you ever heard of “Lombardi Time”? It is definitely a term that is used quite a bit around the complex early in camp. “Lombardi Time” is based on the principle that a person should show up 10 minutes early or else be considered late. Triple-A Manager Rich Donnelly is in charge of keeping the “camp time” during Spring Training, while making workouts run on-time and smoothly. And I can tell you he takes job very seriously. Today, Stephen Pryor was expected to throw his first bullpen at 10:00 am and he was already finishing his 20 pitches and walking off the field at 10:00 am. It is pretty impressive. Everyone from players to coaches knows they have certain drills to get through and a schedule to follow, but once they are done correctly it is time to move onto the next station.

PFP

Rich Donnelly running a PFP drill.

Welcome to the Peoria Sports Complex:

MLB.com columnist Tracy Ringolsby was in camp today catching up with a few of the players in the clubhouse, including first baseman Justin Smoak. Ringolsby, who is known for his signature cowboy hat that he always wears, was a Mariners beat reporter from July 1980-July 1983, and was the 2005 recipient of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award, presented by the Hall of Fame annually to a writer.

Also visiting Peoria today was the Zinger Bat Company. In the last 3 days we have seen Louisville Slugger, Old Hickory, Max Bats, Viper Bats and X-Bats representatives chatting with the players about the different products they each offer.

Closing Ceremonies:

The 2014 Winter Olympics from Sochi, Russia wrapped today. Outfielder Michael Saunders had a little chip on his shoulder this morning after Team Canada defeated Sweden 3-0 in the gold medal hockey game. While hockey was invented in Europe, it is considered Canada’s National Pastime and one of the most popular sports for youth to play. Growing up, Saunders played baseball, hockey and lacrosse, which he points out that lacrosse was invented by a fellow Canadian.

Did You Know…the OF Michael Saunders, who is from Victoria British Columbia, played for Team Canada during the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics?…Saunders also played for Team Canada in the Little League World Series in 1999 and was  a member of the 2013 Canadian World Baseball Classic squad.

Michael Saunders played for Team Canada in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Michael Saunders played for Team Canada in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Weather:
With the weather reports of more rain and snow in the Seattle area, we are seeing the exact opposite in Peoria today. Temperatures again were in the upper 70s and low-80s all day. I know we have said this before, but this maybe one of the warmest starts to Spring Training in the last 10 years. If you are freezing in Seattle, it is the perfect time to get away!

Song of the Day:

The music playing out of the fields during morning workouts has been a popular topic of conversation with a lot of people so far this spring. Yesterday we had our first “speaker” causality when Video Coordinator Jimmy Hartley said he turned up the music up too loud causing one of the speakers vibrate and fall from the tower. Luckily it was before workouts began and no one was around at the time. He quickly got the speaker fixed and the music playing again. One of the first songs played this morning was Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA”. I caught a couple of our beat writers bobbing their head and signing along. When the Rolling Stones “Start Me Up” came on next I also caught an unnamed players signing along in between drills. Special Assistant to the General Manager Pete Vuckovich yesterday was a big fan of A-ha’s “Take on Me”, but I noticed today he was listening to his own classic rock playlist on his personal I-pod with his ear buds in.

Tweet of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 24):
Workouts continue tomorrow at 9:30 am. Pitchers will continue to throw live batting practice, while both pitchers and position players will work on defensive drills.

Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 10

Mariners Spring Training Update
Friday, February 21, 2014 / 38 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 47 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels).

Setting the Scene:
As Spring Training continues, it is beginning to evolve, with different drills being added to the schedule. One of the fun things that was added today was the pop-up drill; which is basically a drill where the fielders yell out “I GOT IT! I GOT IT! I GOT IT!” to call off other position players and make the catch.

The fans in attendance got a little bit of a laugh courtesy of shortstop Nick Franklin and second baseman Robinson Cano. On the first few fly balls that were coming down behind the pitcher’s mound, both players converged to make the play but it was Franklin who made the catch after calling for it. After some good natured ribbing from the fans who wanted to see Cano make the play, another fly went up into the sky….”I GOT IT! I GOT IT! I GOT IT!” was heard by even those watching at other fields, only this time, BOTH men were calling for it. Of course, as the shortstop (and infield captain on these drills), Franklin made the catch. Cano stood there right next to Franklin in disbelief but with a big smile on his face before the two went back to their positions. He might not have made the catch himself, but we’re sure even Cano would agree that two important things happened: The ball was caught, and the fans got a good laugh out of it.

Abraham Almonte calls off Nick Franklin during pop-fly drills.

Abraham Almonte calls off Nick Franklin during pop-fly drills.

For the second day in a row, pitchers threw live batting practice and here’s the full list of who threw:

Field #3: Charlie Furbush, Danny Farquhar, Bobby LaFromboise, Carson Smith.

Field #4: Mark Rogers, Logan Bawcom, Hector Noesi, Stephen Kohlscheen.

Field #5: James Paxton, Zach Miner, Roenis Elias, Jonathan Arias.

Field #6: Scott Baker, Randy Wolf, Brandon Maurer.

It’s Up…It’s GOOD!
Since the pitchers arrived earlier than the position players and began workouts before them as well, the hitters are obviously a little behind the pitchers when it comes to speed of the game. With that in mind, you might understand why a hitter might enjoy hitting one well.

On field three, outfielder Michael Saunders got the chance to face left-hander Charlie Furbush and after making contact on some pitches, Saunders finally got solid contact on Furbush’s final pitch and hit a screaming line drive to straight-away right field. Both Saunders and Furbush tracked the ball and as soon as the ball cleared the fence, both threw their hands in the air as if it was a field goal…IT’S GOOD! Small victories, but you enjoy them when you get them.

Charlie Furbush threw live BP during workouts today.

Charlie Furbush threw live BP during workouts today.

Working Hard
As you may have read in a previous blog (about the infielders taking 150 ground balls each), the coaching staff is working the players hard and Endy Chavez was no exception. Chavez, taking a break in the dugout on field four, was telling outfield prospect James Jones about his seemingly endless outfield drills with coach Andy Van Slyke. Baseballs kept coming Endy’s way and he kept making all the plays. Finally, after 350 consecutive plays made (I exaggerate), he finally missed one…Van Slyke threw his bat in the air and walked away in mock disgust. Endy was smiling while telling Jones of this outfield adventure, but you could tell that he was a tad tired. Let’s hope he gets some rest because he’ll be back out there tomorrow!

Endy Chavez takes a break after live BP.

Endy Chavez takes a break after live BP.

Really? A day off already?
Down here at Spring Training, days off are few and far between so when someone takes a day off…people notice! The guilty party, not surprisingly, was Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. We’re sure he was sitting at a pool somewhere, watching a Pac-12 game with a refreshing Pepsi in his hand…or just sleeping in and staring at his twitter feed.

This is probably what Ryan Divish wanted to do with his off-day.

This is probably what Ryan Divish wanted to do with his off-day.

Weather:
Temperature remained a little cooler today reaching the mid-70s…but regardless of what the weather looks like in Peoria, it’s hard to complain.

Quote of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 21):

Workouts continue tomorrow at 9:30 am. Pitchers will continue to throw live batting practice, while both pitchers and position players will work on defensive drills.

Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 9

Mariners Spring Training Update

Thursday, February 20, 2014 / 39 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 48 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels).

Setting the Scene:
The Mariners hit the fields for the third day of full team workouts with one notable difference. For the first time this spring, pitchers were throwing live batting practice to the hitters. Right-handers Blake Beavan and Erasmo Ramirez were two of the pitchers who took part in throwing to live hitters, with Beavan saying that he felt good on the mound and got good feedback from the hitters and coaching staff after facing Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager to name a few.

There were only two pitchers who had normal bullpens instead of throwing to live hitters: Right-handers Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker. Both got their work in and went off to conditioning on field two…I’m guessing the hitters were not disappointed that they didn’t face those two this early in Spring Training.

Here’s the full list of who threw live BP:

Field #3: Matt Palmer, James Gillheeney, Dominic Leone, Chance Ruffin.

Field #4: Lucas Luetge, Andrew Carraway, Nick Hill.

Field #5: Tom Wilhelmsen, Anthony Fernandez, Logan Kensing.

Field #6: Erasmo Ramirez, Joe Beimel, Blake Beavan.

Photo Feb 20, 10 29 04 AM

Taijuan Walker and Felix Hernandez throwing in the bullpen.

Smile:
The Mariners PR staff got in the office before 6 am with two dozen donuts (and lots of coffee) to start setting up for photo day. Coaches started just after 6:45 am, while the players started trickling through at 7:00 am sharp. In all 68 players in Major League camp, coaches and many front office staff participated in the annual photo day in the multipurpose room at the Peoria Sports Complex which was over by 8:30 am.

Photo Feb 20, 8 32 14 AM

Fernando Rodney, Robinson Cano and Felix Hernandez posing together at Photo Day.

Lights, Camera, Action:

The Mariners Marketing department, Seattle agency Copacino+Fujikado and Blue Goose Productions are wrapping up the team commercials today. Felix Hernandez and Kyle Seager are both making their 2014 acting debut today. I am guessing it will take Felix less than 7 takes to get the money shot.

 Vote #FelixHernandez for #FaceofMLB:

Congratulations to Felix Hernandez for his victory over Reds first baseman Joey Votto in the latest round of the MLB Network Face of MLB Challenge. Felix trailed by a small percentage, before taking the lead late last night. The results litterally came down to the final seconds with Felix pulling out a victory by 0.4%. Felix will face the winner of the matchup between Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw and Mets third baseman David Wright.

Major League Baseball’s most popular players having been squaring off against each other the last couple of weeks as fans decide which player from all 30 MLB clubs best represents the league in MLB Network’s second “Face of MLB” competition. Felix defeated Pirates centerfielder Andrew McCutchen and Phillies second baseman Chase Utley in the first two rounds.

Player Signings Update:

The Mariners have agreed to contracts for the 2014 season with pitchers Logan Bawcom, Anthony Fernandez and James Paxton, catcher Mike Zunino, infielders Nick Franklin and Kyle Seager and outfielders Julio Morban and Stefen Romero. These signings bring the total of signed players on the Mariners Major League 40-man roster to 21. The remaining 19 Mariners will be signed or renewed by March 11.

Baseball America Top 100 Prospects:

Baseball America released his annual top 100 prospects with three Mariners players making the list. RHP Taijuan Walker was rated as the 11th-highest prospect, while infielder D.J. Peterson was 88th and left-handed James Paxton ranked 99th.

Taijuan Walker went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in three starts with the Mariners last season.

Taijuan Walker

Mariners.com/MLB.TV:

Mariners.com and MLB.TV were participated in photo day grabbing guys for on-camera interviewer and to read liners. Even Mariners.com beat reporter Greg Johns switched roles for a short time and turned into an on-air talent to interview shortstop Brad Miller. Keep checking Mariners.com for all the latest and updated information on the Mariners.

2014-02-20 12.21.40

Greg Johns interviewing shortstop Brad Miller for Mariners.com and MLB.TV.

Photo Feb 20, 8 00 30 AM

Charlie Furbush holding a reflector while MLB.TV is interviewing teammate Logan Morrison.

Picking out your bat and glove:

Nearly every day in Spring training you will see a different bat, glove or clothing companies getting players setup for the season. Today was no different with both Louisville Slugger and Wilson in Peoria today.

Weather:
Temperature were a little cooler today reaching only in the mid-70s with wind gusts in the teens most of the morning. With it being so dry the last few weeks, the wind definitely bothered some people’s allergies.

Quote of the Day:

“It was great. He talked baseball, and I talked football. I told him what a hell of a football player I was, and he told me what a hell of a baseball player I was. We told a lot of lies.”

Manager Lloyd McClendon said after chatting with Steve Largent of the field today during workouts.

McClendon was a star running back for his high school team in Gary, Indiana.

Hall of Famer for the Seattle Seahawks and former U.S. House of Representatives for Oklahoma Steve Largent was a guest in camp this afternoon. After getting a tour of the new complex, Largent went outside to watch the end of the workouts. He chatted with Manager Lloyd McClendon and other players, including outfielder Michael Saunders.

Largent

Steven Largent and Lloyd McClendon.

Tweet of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 20):
Workouts continue tomorrow at 9:30 am. Pitchers will continue to throw live batting practice, while both pitchers and position players will work on defensive drills.

Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 8

Mariners Spring Training Update

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 / 40 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 49 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels).

Setting the Scene:
Mariners camp was in full swing for the second time with 68 players on the field today. The group drills remained the same as yesterday, splitting into groups for pitchers and position players but there were definitely more eyes watching workouts. Fans are already excited about the current team and that excitement will surely increase as the season opener draws closer.

 While Felix Hernandez didn’t have to throw a bullpen today, he did stand around and watch his fellow teammates get their work in.

 Among those who had side sessions this morning were:

 Group 1: Fernando Rodney, Randy Wolf, Mark Rogers, Brandon Maurer & James Paxton.

Group 2: Yoervis Medina, Bobby LaFromboise, Charlie Furbush, Danny Farquhar, Zach Miner & Hector Noesi.

Group 3: Logan Bawcom, Carson Smith, Roenis Elias, Jonathan Arias, Ramon Ramirez & Steve Kohlscheen.

Cano

Cano taking batting practice.

Happy Birthday Dave:
Thinking of Dave Niehaus on what would have been his 79th birthday.

Niehaus

Lights, Camera, Action:

Since 1993, the Seattle Mariners have trained in Peoria, Arizona. And since 1994, another segment of the Mariners family has descended upon Peoria every February with the exception of one year. It’s the creative and production team which works on the Mariners television commercials. The commercials are the result of a creative collaboration between the Mariners and Seattle agency Copacino+Fujikado. The commercials are shot on location in Peoria, Arizona, and directed by Blue Goose Productions of Mercer Island.

The groups have been brainstorming and planning the commercials the last few months and will spend the next two days shooting four spots. Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano, Hisashi Iwakuma, Brad Miller, Kyle Seager, Charlie Furbush and Manager Lloyd McClendon are all expected to make an appearance in the commercials this year.

Commerical

Robinson Cano participating in commercial shoot.

Vote #FelixHernandez for #FaceofMLB:

Felix Hernandez is up against Reds first baseman Joey Votto in the latest round of the MLB Network Face of MLB Challenge. Mariners fans have until 5 am PT/8 am ET to tweet or retweet #FelixHernandez and #FaceofMLB. Every tweet and RT counts if it has those hashtags.

 Major League Baseball’s most popular players having been square off against each other the last couple of weeks as fans decide which player from all 30 MLB clubs best represents the league in MLB Network’s second “Face of MLB” competition. Felix defeated Pirates centerfielders Andrew McCutchen and Phillies second baseman Chase Utley in the first two rounds, but currently in a dead heat with Votto.

King Felix

King Felix

Video Game Head Scans:
Sony was in camp today getting head scans for their video game MLB The Show. Once players have gone through the head scan process they don’t have to do it again. It is a pretty elaborate set up that takes less than 10 minutes, but literally takes pictures and scans every feature of the players head. This year outfielder Abraham Almonte, infielder Brad Miller and right-handed pitcher Hector Noesi each spent time in the chair getting their head scanned. MLB The Show has released a new and updated version since 2006.

Scans

Abraham Almonte

MLBPA:
Major League Baseball Players Association was also in camp today collecting signatures from players for their charitable auctions throughout the season. Since 1996, the Major League Baseball Players Trust has touched the lives of thousands of disadvantaged people in hundreds of communities around the world. The charitable foundation was created by Major Leaguers to help those less fortunate by facilitating players’ efforts to volunteer in support of causes close to their hearts and encouraging others to do the same. MLBPA has provided more than $13 million in total contributions to date. Felix Hernandez, Logan Morrison, Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano were a few of the players that took time out of their morning to sign baseballs, balls and jerseys.

Felix signing

Felix signing for MLBPA.

Uniform fitting:
Majestic, the official uniform provider of Major League Baseball, spent the morning the clubhouse fitting everyone for their uniforms. Jersey sizes are pretty standard for most players, but players are very particular about the how their pants fit. RHP Felix Hernandez likes to wear his pants a little bag and all the way down to the bottom of his cleats, while shortstop Brad Miller likes to wear his pants above his knees and stirrups underneath.

Picking out your bat:

The Old Hickory Bat Company was in Peoria spending time at both the Mariners and Padre complexes today to have guys try their bats for the upcoming season. Brad Miller, Dustin Ackley, John Hicks, James Jones, Stefen Romero, Justin Smoak and Mike Zunino all use Old Hickory bats.

bats

Different styles of Old Hickory bats.

Weather:
Another beautiful day in Peoria with hardly a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the low 80s. More sunshine and baseball in the forecast for the next few days.

Quote of the Day:

“Hey, you’re the guy that keeps butt dialing me.”

Manager Lloyd McClendon said after meeting Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone this morning.

Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone arrived in Peoria yesterday. When he walked into Manager Lloyd McClendon’s office this morning he went and introduced himself. The two shook hands and then there was an awkward pause until Lloyd blurted out “Hey, you’re the guy that keeps butt dialing me.”  Yes..that is correct Stoney admitted that for some reason he will occasionally pocket dial Lloyd on accident. I think we have all had that person that our phone dialed on accident, but usually it is the first person in our contact list. For some unknown reason, Stoney’s phone dials Lloyd. I have a funny feeling that Lloyd is not the only person that has received a random pocket call from Larry. Stoney, who is also best known for his ++++++ tweets, driving away with a gas pump still in tank and his love for Red Robin (stopped there for lunch today), will be in town for the next week preparing for upcoming columns and Mariners Special Section content.

Tweets of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 20):
Workouts continue tomorrow at 9:30 am. Though the one change will be the start of live BP. Pitchers Matt Palmer, James Gillheeney, Dominic Leone, Chance Ruffin, Lucas Luetge, Andrew Carraway, Nick Hill Tom Wilhelmsen, Anthony Fernandez, Logan Kensing, Erasmo Ramirez and Blake Beavan are each scheduled to throw against the Mariners batters tomorrow. Also right-handed pitchers Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker are expected to throw their second bullpens tomorrow.

Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 7

Mariners Spring Training Update

Tuesday, February 18, 2014 / 41 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 50 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels).

Furbush 3

Setting the Scene:
All 68 players were on the field today for the first full squad workout today. The team stretched on the same field, before splitting into positional groups for throwing programs. The infielders split into two groups on fields 5 and 6 to work on defense, while the outfielders were on field 7 running through drills.

The first hitters group to take batting practice on Field 6 today included Brad Miller, Kyle Seager, Justin Smoak and Robinson Cano. All four players put on an impressive first session with a huge crowd of fans and media watching. Willie Bloomquist, Logan Morrison, Nick Franklin and Mike Zunino rounded out the second group on field 6. Outfielders Corey Hart, Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders hit in the first group on field 3.

Pitchers are still continuing to get their arms stretched out with bullpens sessions. Scott Baker, Blake Beavan, Joe Beimel, Erasmo Ramirez, Andrew Caraway, Anthony Fernandez, Nick Hill, Lucase Luetge, Matt Palmer, Tom Wilhelmsen, James Gillheeney, Logan Kensing, Dominic Leone and Chance Ruffin each threw in the pen today.

Photo Feb 18, 10 04 02 AM

Pitchers during today’s workout.

Staff Meeting:
The day started on field 1 with a full camp team meeting ran from 9:30 to 10, with everyone from CEO Howard Lincoln to the front office staff to the minor league coaches being introduced to the team. Members of the Mariners Community Relations staff were among the first to speak to the team, stressing the importance of every player being involved in the community. Members of the training, clubhouse, medical, marketing and baseball information staffs also spoke. Everyone but the players and coaching staff were then cleared out off the field  when Lloyd McClendon addressed the team.

Team Meeting

Jeff Kingston introducing staff to the team.

Hello Cano:
When I got into the office at 7:00 am this morning there was an ESPN satellite truck in the parking lot. I knew something major was going on. Ohh yeah…today marked the official first day on the field for Robinson Cano as a Seattle Mariner. MLB Network and ESPN were in camp as well a large contingent of local and national media to document his first day. During the workout you could always tell what field Robinson was on by the number of photographers and fans watching on. He was scheduled to talk to the media following today’s workout at about 1:15 pm, but because meetings were shorter than planned this morning he was ready to go 12:30 pm. Robinson also did a one-on-one interview after with MLB Network that aired this afteroon at 3 pm PT.

Cano in Cages

Cano taking batting practice.

Weather:
Another beautiful day in Peoria with hardly a cloud in the sky and temperatures in nearing 80 degrees. More sunshine and baseball in the forecast for the next few days.

Cactus League Media Day:
Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik and Manager Lloyd McClendon represented the Mariners at today’s Cactus League Media Availability at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix. For the second consecutive year, Major League Baseball put the event together and brought all managers and general managers from the 15 Cactus League teams into one place for the local and national media. It was a great event, and kept Lloyd and Jack busy asking several questions about the 2014 Mariners.

Sign

Lloyd McClendon and Jack Zduriencik spent the afternoon at the Cactus League Media at Chase Field.

Stat of the Day:
AS YOU KNOW…the Mariners currently have 68 players currently in Major League Spring Training Camp…BUT DID YOU KNOW?…the 68 players currently in camp are the most players we have had in camp over the last 11 years. Here is a list of the number of players we have had in camp since 2004.

Year

40-Man

Invited

Total

2004

40

19

59

2005

40

20

60

2006

40

22

62

2007

40

23

63

2008

39

16

55

2009

40

19

59

2010

40

23

63

2011

40

22

62

2012

40

26

66

2013

40

21

61

2014

40

28

68

 “Legendary Lloyd”:

2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the Little League baseball and this morning Manager Lloyd McClendon reminisced with a film crew about his experiences in the Little League World Series and how he came to receive his “Legendary Lloyd” nickname.

Lloyd, playing for Anderson Little League of Gary, Ind., in the 1971 Little League Baseball World Series, became known as “Legendary Lloyd” for his performance over three Series games, dominating as a pitcher and as a hitter, with 5 home runs, 10 RBI, and 5 intentional walks in 10 plate appearances.

In the quarterfinals, Gary beat the team from Kentucky. McClendon hit two home runs and was intentionally walked. In the semifinals, Gary beat the team from Madrid, Spain, with McClendon hitting two more home runs and drawing another intentional walk.  Then came the title game with Taiwan. Lloyd came to the plate with two men on base, and on the first pitch he was thrown, he unloaded a three-run home run. He was intentionally walked his next two plate appearances. Taiwan won the championship game in nine innings, the longest game in Little League World Series history. McClendon pitched the first 8.0 innings, striking out 12.

McClendon was All-State at Roosevelt High School in Gary. He earned a baseball scholarship to Valparaiso. Drafted in the 8th round in 1980 by the New York Mets, he was part of the package that went to Cincinnati in the Tom Seaver trade after the 1982 season. McClendon played in the big leagues with the Reds, Cubs and Pittsburgh, where he was a part of three consecutive National League East champions (1990-92).

In 2006 Lloyd was enshrined in the Peter J. McGovern Little League Museum Hall of Excellence at Little League International, in South Williamsport, Pa. He joined former Major League players Dusty Baker, Cal Ripken Jr., Dale Murphy, Jim Palmer, Nolan Ryan, Mike Schmidt and Tom Seaver to be inducted into the Little League Hall of Fame.

Shannon Drayer has arrived:

710 ESPN Seattle’s Mariners beat reporter Shannon Drayer arrived to Peoria yesterday and was in the clubhouse bright and early this morning setting up interviews and introducing herself to all the new players. You would have thought she was moving to Arizona with her five suitcases she had shipped down here, most of which were filled with shoes. I think her motto is you can’t wear the same pair of shoes twice down here. I also heard her say that she brought a special bag of frozen cookie dough down in her suitcase. When her bag was over the weight limit for the airplane she had to decide between a hair dryer and cookie dough. The cookie dough made the trip, while she had to run to the store last night to pick up a new hair dryer.

You can listen for updates from Shannon on 710 ESPN Seattle (950 AM) or check out her blog at www.MyNorthwest.com.

Hot Stove League:

The Mariners Hot Stove League Radio Show airs tonight from 7-9 pm PT (8-10 pm MT) on 710 ESPN Seattle and streamed live online at Mariners.com.

The 2-hour show will be hosted by Rick Rizzs, Dave Valle and Matt Pitman.  Shannon Drayer will have a live report from Peoria.

Guests are scheduled to include:

  • AAA Manager    Rich Donnelly    8:15
  • Catcher             John Buck        8:30
  • Pitcher              James Paxton   8:45
  • Pitcher              Scott Baker       9:15
  • Si.com Writer    Greg Bishop     9:30       

 Quote of the Day:

“It feels good, said infielder Robinson Cano said about his first workout as a Mariner. “It was exciting. I got spend time with teammates and coaches. It’s a new team with all new faces.”

Cano

Cano fielding ground balls at second base.

Tweet of the Day:

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 19):
The second workout with all 68 players in Major League camp will be on the field tomorrow morning at 9:30 am.

Tonight’s Hot Stove League on 710 ESPN Seattle

Hot Stove League - 2/18

With our first full squad workout in the books, Spring Training is officially in full swing. Tune in to tonight’s Hot Stove League to hear from a variety of guests, including James Paxton, John Buck and Sport Illustrated’s Greg Bishop who spent some time with Robinson Cano in the Dominican Republic last week. There will also be a special report from Shannon Drayer.

Listen live from 7-p p.m. on 710 ESPN Seattle or streaming online for free on Mariners.com

Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 6

Mariners Spring Training Update

Monday, February 17, 2014 / 42 Days ‘til Opening Night (March 31 at Los Angeles Angeles) / 51 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 8 vs. Angels).

Setting the Scene:
Happy President’s Day. While some people celebrated today’s national holiday with a day off, today marked the fifth day with pitchers and catchers on the field in Peoria. It was also the final day with only pitchers and catchers on the field as the full squad will begin workouts tomorrow.

The position players took their turn completing each part of the physicals today and will be out of the field officially for workouts at 10 am tomorrow morning.

The big news of the day was the first bullpen sessions for right-handed pitchers Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker. Both pitchers drew quite a crowd in the bullpen area and both said afterwards that everything went smooth. Felix threw just over 30 pitches and worked on all his pitches except for the slider, which will come later. He said he was a little wild at first, but calmed down and said at the end he felt great. Walker was limited to 25 pitches, all fastballs, in his first bullpen session. He said he felt great and looked forward to throwing again on Thursday. RHP Yoervis Medina was the only other pitcher to throw a bullpen today.

RHP Ramon Ramirez officially reported to camp and participated in workouts after being delayed by VISA issues the last couple of days.

Felix

Felix Hernandez throwing his first bullpen session of the spring.

Taijuan Walker

Taijuan Walker throwing his first bullpen session of the spring.

The Best Fans in Baseball:
When Felix Hernandez finished his bullpen session this morning he spent about another 30 minutes signing about 75 autographs for the fans in attendance.  He even took time to take a few picture with some of his youngest fans. Felix wasn’t the only player to stop and sign autographs after the workout. Taijuan Walker, Fernando Rodney, Charlie Furbush, John Buck, Mike Zunino and many others each took time to stop and sign for the fans.

Felix signing

Felix signing autographs.

Weather:
When players took the field this morning at 9:30 am, the temperatures hovered in the mid-60z. By the time the team got off the field temperatures were already in the mid-80s. We are entering a slight cool down the next couple of days. Tomorrow is expected to be in the mid-80s before cooling to the upper 70s and low 80s the remainder of the week. Still fantastic weather to watch baseball!

Happy Birthday Danny Farquhar:

Today marked Danny Farquhar’s 27th birthday. He shares his birthday with current Major Leaguers Josh Willingham and Cody Ransom. Arguably one of the greatest basketball players of all-time Michael Jordan and NFL legend Jim Brown are also celebrating their birthdays today as well as celebrities Paris Hilton, Larry the Cable Guy, Billie Joe Armstrong and Lou Diamond Phillips.

Danny wrapped the day with a radio interview with Dave “Softy” Mahler on KJR Radio. He was then planning on spending the evening with his wife Lexie, daughter and extended family enjoying a barbeque that featured Dungeness King Crab and mahi mahi on the menu. Sounds delicious, but I wonder why I didn’t get the invite!

081113_306 BVH

Danny Farquhar

KING TV in Town:

Chris Egan and photographer Alan Reed arrived in Peoria today. The big question is how many different color polo shirst did Chris pack for his trip down here? Answer 27. You know he can’t wear the same shirt twice! Chris already talked to Manager Lloyd McClendon and pitchers Felix Hernandez and Taijuan Walker. Make sure you tune into KING TV for more of the interviews. Here is one little tidbit from his interview with Felix. When asked what sport Felix would participate in during the Winter Olympics, Felix responded with speed skating. After the interview was over Felix demonstrated his speed skating technique. Personally, I could see Felix participating in the luge or ski jumping!

Egan and Felix

Chris Egan and Felix Hernandez

Hello Cano:

Infielder Robinson Cano has arrived in Peoria and will participate in tomorrow’s first full squad workout. He is expected to meet with a large media group following his first workout as a member of the Seattle Mariners. While most position players take physicals today, Cano received a pass after taking a very extensive physical when he signed his contract in the offseason. There were a few national baseball writers all ready in camp preparing for Cano’s arrival.

 Quote of the Day:

“I once failed a high school Spanish class,” said Mariners Bullpen Coach Mike Rojas said during an interview with ROOT Sports.

 Mike later explained that he grew up in a family where they only spoke Spanish inside the home, but English everywhere else. He said in high school he used a different type of slang than the teacher was teaching. Once his parents found out he was failing that met with the teacher to clear things up. He ended up passing his class in the end.

 Mike is in his first season with the Mariners after joining Manager Lloyd McClendon’s staff in November. He is the son of former MLB second baseman, coach, manager and scout Cookie Rojas and his brother Victor is the TV play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

 Did you know?…Mike was a bat boy for Kansas City in the early 1970s when his dad was member of the Royals. Also on that team was current Mariners Hall of Famer Lou Piniella. Mike said as a bat boy his job was to follow the players off the field and collect their bat and helmet. He said after an at-bat where Lou struck out he couldn’t find where he went. Mike eventually found Lou in the bathroom trying to shove his helmet down the toilet with his bat. He said he always remembered Lou for his feistiness as a player.

Mike Rojas

Mike Rojas sitting down with Jen Mueller for a ROOT Sports Interview.

Tweet of the Day:

 

On Tap Tomorrow (Feb. 16):
Pitchers and catchers will hit the field again tomorrow morning at 9:30 am (Arizona time). The position players official report and will go through physicals throughout the day.

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