Results tagged ‘ Chris Gwynn ’

Prospects Report For Mini-Camp

Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn, in his first season with the Mariners, will lead the mini-camp and it will also be one of the first opportunities for him to evaluate players in the system. The Mariners have conducted a winter program for their minor league players for years, but this is the third year for a structured mini-camp that features 35 of the organizations top prospects that are not already in Major League camp. The players went through physicals yesterday, with the first workout today at the Peoria Sports Complex. The mini-camp runs through March 1.

“Mini-camp is comprised of players in our organization (that are nominated by our Minor League Coordinators) that have potential to play at a higher level, said Gywnn. “Each player goes through extensive performance tests to determine their strength and fitness level. Players will then meet with individual coordinators and coaches to determine their plan for the upcoming season.”

The goal is to get players a head start through instruction. Mini-camp is similar to instructional league in fall, but in the spring guys are fresh and what you teach them can carry on into the season.

“Each player will have something different to focus on during camp, Gwynn said. “It is an opportunity for one-on-one instruction to help players iron out deficiencies they might have as well as keeping their strengths growing. “

The camp is not only about hitting and throwing, but also focuses on off-field instruction.  Players will be involved in community events, such as talking to local elementary students and visiting children at area hospitals.  There are English classes for players who don’t speak it and tips on nutrition and etiquette.

“Many of the players are players from Latin American countries and have never been to the states or players who are entering their first year in professional baseball, Gwynn said. “They will be able to rely on our staff to answer any questions they may have on or off the field. “

Infielder Kyle Seager went through mini-camp in 2010 and remembered how important that camp was for him.

“Being able to come into camp early and learn all the drills ahead of the time helps a ton,” Seager said. “Having all the one-on-one instruction with the coaches helped a lot with my development heading into the 2010 season.”

Right-hander Forrest Snow went through mini-camp last season and was able to continue what he learned in mini-camp throughout the 2011 season.

“For pitchers mini-camp is continuation of our throwing program that we received at the end of the previous season,” Snow said.  “Showing up to Peoria in early February allowed me to work with the pitching coaches to figure what I needed to improve on for the season. “

Among players taking part in the mini-camp are highly regarded prospects that include right-handed pitchers Victor Sanchez and Carter Capps, catcher Marcus Littlewood, infielders Brad Miller and Cavan Cohoes and outfielders Guillermo Pimentel, Phillips Castillo and Jabari Blash.

Littlewood is continuing to make the transition from shortstop to catcher, which began during Instructional League in September. He hopes to continue his development, while taking advantage of the one-on-one instruction with the catching coordinators.

“It is still a work in progress, but Roger Hansen, Jose Moreno and Scott Steinnmann have worked with me a lot in the offseason to help make the transition as smooth as possible,”  Littlewood said. “I had to work a lot on my flexibility long before I started taking balls behind the plate.”

Littlewood looks forward to viewing the game from a different point of view.

“I am looking forward to being the captain and controlling the game behind the plate,” Littlewood said. “It is my job to help set the defenses as well as working with the pitcher on pitch selection and location.”

Marcus Littlewood

Infielder Brad Miller, the Mariners second round selection in the 2011 June draft, played in just a few games with the Clinton LumberKings at the end of last season and is looking forward to 2012.

“I am excited to get here early and to start working with all the coaches,” Miller said. “Darren Garner and Eddie Menchaca have worked with us a lot on all aspects of the game, including baserunning.”

Miller spent the last three seasons playing shortstop at the Clemson University. He received the 2011 Brooks Wallace Shortstop of the Year Award, after hitting .395 (77×195) with 53 runs scored, 11 doubles, 3 triples, 5 home runs and 50 RBI in 56 games during his junior season.  Miller has already noticed big differences between the collegiate and professional levels.

“There is a lot of emphasis on details and focusing on improving the little things,” Miller said. “When Major League coach Mike Brumley came over and worked with us on baserunning it really set in how important everything was. I really look forward to getting more time to talk and ask questions to all the coaches. “

Brad Miller

The Mariners signed 9 of their first 10 picks in the 2011 June Draft and currently have 7 players participating in mini-camp, including right-handed pitchers Carter Capps and Carson Smith, catchers John Hicks and Tyler Marlette and infielders Brad Miller, Steven Proscia and Cavan Cohoes. The Mariners first-round selection in the 2011 draft, LHP Danny Hultzen is currently participating in Major League camp this year.

Ten players that have participated in the Mariners mini-camp are in Major League camp this spring, including right-handed Erasmo Ramirez, infielders Alex Liddi and Nick Franklin and outfielders Johermyn Chavez and Carlos Peguero. Of the 30 players listed as the Mariners top prospects by Baseball America in 2012, 19 will have participated in mini-camp.

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- KM

Hot Stove League and Mariner Mondays

Mariners pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in Peoria, AZ this weekend, and what better way to get ready for the baseball season than with the Hot Stove League on the radio and Mariners Mondays on ROOT Sports.

The Hot Stove League show will be hosted by Rick Rizzs, Shannon Drayer and Matt Pitman. Fans can listen locally in the Puget Sound region on 710 ESPN Seattle and over the Internet on Mariners.com. Guests for the show are scheduled to include:

Kyle Seager will be a guest on tonight's Hot Stove League Radio Show. (Getty Images)

And here is your Mariners Monday teaser that will air tonight on ROOT SPORTS (7:30pm PST) and feature the games of May 27 and May 28 vs. the New York Yankees.

Anytime you can beat the Yankees is a good day. When you do it in back-to-back games, even better.

Let’s set the scene – May 27, the Mariners are a game under .500 and preparing to open a big homestand with a three-game set against the Yankees. It’s a Friday night, and there’s always a buzz in Safeco Field when the Yankees come to town. When it was over, the Mariners had overcome a three-run deficit, Franklin Gutierrez had made another of his highlight-reel catches, and the Mariners bullpen held off the always powerful Yankees offense.

Rookie pitcher Michael Pineda got the start – probably the biggest start of his young career (after his Major League debut). But he struggled through 5.0 innings. He gave up just three hits and struck out five, but he didn’t have command of his fastball and walked five. The Mariners bullpen (David Pauley, Jamey Wright and Brandon League) combined for four scoreless innings. Pauley got the win and League notched his 13th save.

Look for highlights tonight of Franklin Gutierrez’s stunning catch of Nick Swisher’s deep drive to right center in the fourth inning.

The next night, Felix Hernandez took the mound. He pitched well and looked to be in line for a win, until the Yankees tied it at 4-4 in the 7th after a misjudged fly ball to right turned a Curtis Granderson out into a triple, scoring Derek Jeter from second.

The game stayed tied into the 12th inning (kudos again to the Mariners bullpen), when Mariano Rivera strode in for career appearance 1,001. Game over, right? Not so fast.

Rivera got a quick out on a broken bat grounder. Then Justin Smoak blooped a single to left, and Jack Cust dropped a double just inside the left field line, sending Smoak to third. Luis Rodriguez pinch ran for Smoak, Guti was intentionally walked to load the bases, and Adam Kennedy stepped in. On an 0-1 pitch, Kennedy put one into center field, just in front of Granderson, to score Rodriquez, who was greeted at home with a good beating by his teammates.

Pauley, who worked two innings of relief, got the win, his second in a row. The Mariners 5-4 win was the first loss Rivera had suffered since September 11, 2010.

The game was notable for another reason—four fans, including a streaker, ran onto the field late in the game. All were “escorted” off the field and spent part of their Memorial Day weekend as guests of King County.

- RH

Live Blog: Mariners Media Day

You can follow today’s Pre-Spring Training Media Day via a live webcast at Mariners.com.

10:05 am — Mariners Senior Director of Baseball Information Tim Hevly welcomes the media to the 32nd Annual Pre-Spring Training Media Luncheon and a video is shown of Jack Zduriencik and Eric Wedge talking about “The Plan.”

A packed house for the Mariners annual Media Day at Safeco Field.

10:10 am — Mariners VP of Marketing Kevin Martinez unveils the 35th Anniversary Patch that will be worn on home and road uniforms this season. he also announced plans to bring back former players from throughout the organization’s history during home weekend series.

10:15 am — Senior VP of Communications Randy Adamack talks about the Mariners Opening Series vs. the A’s in Japan.

10:20 am — Head Athletic Trainer gives the off-season injury update. Says that Felix is doing great after getting hit by a line drive in his last start at Texas. Brendan Ryan should be full-steam ahead in spring training. Casper Wells was diagnosed with a “balance disorder” and is 100% and ready to go. Rick also says that Franklin Gutierrez is healthy and has put on about 15 pounds of muscle and looks as healthy as he ever has.

10:30 am — Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn takes the stage for his first introduction to the Seattle media. Gwynn says his basic philosophy is fundamentals, and whatever it takes to get those fundamentals down. Gwynn has been with the San Diego Padres in various scouting and player development roles. He played 10 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Dodgers, Royals and Padres.

10:40 am — Assistant GM Jeff Kingston and Special Assistant to the GM Tony Blengino talk about the players coming to spring training that have been added to the roster this off-season.

Edgar Martinez stopped by to say hi to the newest Mariner, Jesus Montero.

10:51 am — We are running a little ahead of schedule, which tends to happen with this event, so GM Jack Zduriencik is now on the stage. He begins by congratulating ESPN 710 Seattle’s Mike Salk on the addition to his family and Jerry Brewer on his Writer of the Year award.

JZ says that there is no question we will have a young team this year, but also have some young talent right behind them. Adds, it may be a challenging year at the Big League level, but we are up for the challenge. Sprinkled in some veterans as well that will provide clubhouse leadership. Now is is answering questions from the media.

11:00 am — Jack still has the stage and is answering questions from the media. Talks about the make-up of this year’s team and how they have grown together after last season. He says there will be some competition during spring training for some roster spots. Also mentioned having about 10 players up to Seattle in January for team bonding and to see how they have progressed physically. Said it was a good experience for the players to get on the same page before spring training.

1:10 am — Jack is deep in to talking about The Plan. Says that we are building this thing the right way and climbing the ladder. He is not satisfied, but there has been progress and is in the middle of the process. Lots of positives, lots of good young talent. Acknowledges patience is tough for fans, but says there are a lot of great things going on here and the future is bright.

11:15 am — Manager Eric Wedge takes the stage. In his opening statement says that he is more excited & more confident today than when he took the job. Talking about this year’s team with a lot of passion and energy.

11:30 am — Wedge has some interesting tidbits saying that he is leaning towards batting Ichiro 2nd or 3rd in the order. Also says that Chone Figgins will play all three outfield positions, in addition to shortstop, third base and second base. Said that he is going to get the opportunity to play all over the field.

11:35 am — Jesus Montero is introduced to the media, sporting his #63 jersey with Jack Zduriencik and Eric Wedge.

Jesus just met Edgar Martinez for the first time this morning. Montero once told his dad “I’m going to be like him, hitting ball to right field.”

Jesus Montero at Media Day.

11:45 am — Mike Carp and Michael Saunders are now on the podium. Both have been part of the caravan this week. Carp said he is hoping to build off his strong season last year and worked hard in the weight room during the off-season. Saunders said last year was a tough year and is using that as motivation for the upcoming season ahead.

Carp added “We are young and we want to win. We play hard. Hopefully some of the younger guys step up. With our pitching we should compete.”

Saunders said he has spent a lot of his off-season training working with video, and studying some of the best hitters in the game, and what they do right. His ultimate goal, and mindset, is to hit the ball hard and let the results take care of itself.

And that is a wrap from media day. We will post a photo gallery later this afternoon.

- JE

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