Results tagged ‘ Eric Wedge ’

Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 10

Day 10 / Tuesday, February 21, 2012 / 35 Days ‘til Opening Night in Tokyo / 51 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle

Weather: If you could bottle this weather up, you would be set. Sorry to rub this in for any Northwest fans reading this while it is cold and rainy, but it was just about perfect today. Photo day started with the temps at a “brisk” 47°, and climbed to near 70° when the players finished the workout. And the weather ahead also looks pretty good, including highs expected in the 80′s this weekend.

Not a bad 6-day forecast for the next few days of spring training.

News of the Day:
Manager Eric Wedge announced following practice that Ichiro will bat third in the batting lineup this year. He also said he is going to give first shot at the leadoff position to Chone Figgins and Dustin Ackley will start the season batting 2nd. For the seamheads out there, Ichiro has made 13 starts in his career where he has batted 3rd in the lineup, last June 23, 2004 at Texas. 1,730 of his 1,733 career starts (1,749 career games played) have had his name penciled into the leadoff spot on the Mariners lineup card since his MLB debut in 2001.

Eric Wedge announced following today's workout that Ichiro will bat No. 3 in the batting order this season.

Quotes of the Day:
“Sorry.” Pretty simple, and straight from the mouth of ace Felix Hernandez after striking out prospect Nick Franklin on a pretty nasty curveball. When asked what pitch he struck out on, Franklin just shook his head and said “a huge curveball. Never seen one like that before!”

“Come on Ichi, Come on Ichi, Come on Ichi!!!!!!” That was energetic infielder Munenori Kawasaki cheering on Ichiro when the outfielders were working on cutoffs and throwing to different bases. He got plenty of laughs out of teammates, media and fans watching practice.

Tweet of the Day:

Birthday Boys:
Outfielders Franklin Gutierrez (29th) and Chih-Hsien Chiang (25th) celebrated their birthdays today. Both even got a few “Happy Birthday’s” shouted their way as both players shuffled between practice fields.

The Day:
The Mariners ran through one of their longer workouts so far this spring, with the catchers finishing their conditioning around 1 p.m. local time. A total of 17 pitchers threw live BP, including Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, Blake Beavan, James Paxton and Shawn Kelley. The team also went through a spirited round of infield-outfield, with several outfielders showing pinpoint accuracy throwing home.

RHP Taijuan Walker threw live batting practice to Dustin Ackley, Chone Figgins and Munenori Kawasaki.

Photo Day:
We had a previous blog entry on Photo Day, with plenty of photos from the morning photo shoots. All 67 players in Major League camp ran through a gauntlet of photo stations including Getty Images, AP, Kyodo News, Topps and US Presswire.

National Media:
Along with our everyday beat writers Greg Johns (MLB.com), Larry LaRue (Tacoma News Tribune), Geoff Baker (Seattle Times), Larry Stone (Seattle Times), and local TV reporters Chris Egan (King 5) and Aaron Levine (Q13), some national media members made pit stops at Mariners camp today. ESPN.com’s Jorge Arangure, CBSSportsline.com’s Scott Miller and ESPN’s Pedro Gomez were seen on the back fields doing stories on the Mariners.

Veteran scribes Larry LaRue (left) and Greg Johns (right) are also known to pick up a camera during spring training.

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- JE

Mariners Spring Training Update – Day 2

Day 2 / Monday, February 13, 2012 / 43 Days ‘til Opening Night in Tokyo / 59 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle

Weather: Sunny skies with temperatures in the low to mid-60 during workouts this morning. Temperatures are continuing to warm up through the afternoon, but rain may be in the forecast for tomorrow.

Quote of the Day: Shortstop Munenori Kawasaki introducing himself to teammates, staff and media: “I am Munenori Kawasaki. Kawasaki…VROOM VROOM.” Kawasaki signed a Minor League contract with the Mariners in January and is excited to be in camp.

 

Munenori (left), Kawasaki (right) - VROOM! VROOM!

The Day: Pitchers and catchers were on field for the second day of camp. After day one and figuring out which field to be on and at what time, day two went smoothly with everyone getting where they needed to be on time.

Sixteen pitchers had bullpens today after 18 did yesterday, including RH Hisashi Iwakumi, RH Hector Noesi, RH Brandon League and RH Kevin Millwood. General Manager Jack Zduriencik and Manager Eric Wedge have been impressed early with the pitchers in camp.

Pitchers continued working on PFP (Pitchers Fielding Practice) drills, including fielding a bunt and covering first on a ball hit to the right side of the infield. Infielders Mike Carp, Kyle Seager and Nick Franklin stood in as first baseman for the pitchers on one of the fields. Catchers also worked on controlling the running game and throwing out runners at second base.

The catchers wrapped up the day split into two hitting groups. While working on hitting to all sides of the field, Jesus Sucre hit a screaming line drive up the middle and nearly took out coach Nasusel Cabrera gathering balls in shallow center field. Cabrera had to jump out of the way and used a ball bucket to deflect the ball. The rest of the coaching staff laughed and continued to give Cabrera a hard time until BP was over. Jesus Montero, Miguel Olivo and Adam Moore each hit multiple home runs into the parking lot.

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- KM

The Plan

Click on any of the three images below to watch the video clip for The Plan.

FanFest Photo Gallery – Day 1

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Photo Credits: Ben VanHouten/Seattle Mariners

Mariners on the Airwaves – January 26

Thursday was a busy media day for the Mariners, with the annual Pre-Spring Training Media Day at Safeco Field. The event features a number of guests, including several members of the Baseball Operations Department, Manager Eric Wedge, General Manager Jack Zduriencik, outfielders Michael Saunders and Mike Carp and catcher Jesus Montero. Here is a listing of Podcasts from various radio interviews from Thursday:

And here are a few links from interviews conducted on media row at the Seattle Sports Star of the Year event Wednesday:

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

Wedge and Griffey Visit Japan

Mariners manager Eric Wedge and Ken Griffey Jr. spent the past weekend in Japan.

The quick (48 hours!) jaunt to Tokyo provided an opportunity for the pair to help promote the Japan Opening Series 2012 when the Mariners and Oakland A’s will open the regular-season with a pair of games in the Tokyo Dome (March 28 and 29).

Mariners Manager Eric Wedge gives some batting tips.

More importantly, it provided an opportunity for Ken and Eric to help spread their passion for the game to youth in Japan.

The duo flew from Seattle to Tokyo, leaving Friday the 13th, and landing about 6pm on Saturday the 14th. On Sunday, they drove about an hour outside of Tokyo to the Yomiuri Giants training facility to assist with a clinic for 110, 8- to 12-year-old kids from around Japan, including a special group from Fukushima.

Ken Griffey Jr., center, chats with children at a baseball clinic (AP)

Fukushima was devastated by the earthquake and ensuing tsunami and the 36 players from there (who took a four-hour bus ride to be at the clinic) are still dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy.

Eric Wedge poses for photos with particpants in the clinic.

The clinic went about two hours; Ken and Eric (joined by coaches and players from Yomiuri) worked with the kids, gave an opening and closing statement, signed autographs and posed for pictures. Ken and Eric brought oversized baseball cards of themselves and, at the end of the clinic, the kids lined up and every player received a photo and a handshake for both Ken and Eric.

Oakland Athletics Manager Bob Melvin, left, Seattle Mariners Manager Eric Wedge, center, and Mariners Special Consultant Ken Griffey Jr. pose for photographer after a press conference of 2012 MLB Opening Series in Japan in Tokyo (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

At the end of the formal clinic, Eric and Ken held a special meet and greet with the Fukushima kids; each child received either a Mariners hat signed by both guys, or a ball signed by both Ken and Eric.

Not surprisingly, in addition to the excitement and rapt attention paid to both Mariners, the major league players and staff from Yomiuri were very interested to meet, talk with, and (shyly) ask for autographs and photos from Wedge and Griffey.

Monday afternoon (after spending an hour at a sumo wrestling (!) tournament in the morning) Wedge and Griffey were joined by Oakland A’s manager Bob Melvin for a news conference to talk about the Opening Series.

The passion for MLB in Japan is obvious, as nearly 200 media packed into a hotel ballroom to see the three, and ask questions about the two exhibition games and two regular season games in March.

Mariners Manager Eric Wedge and Athletics Manager Bob Melvin after the news conference for the 2012 MLB Opening Series in Japan (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Wedge and Griffey left about an hour after the news conference, and flew out of Tokyo on 6 pm flights. Thanks to the magic of time zones, Wedge was back in his office in Safeco Field (meeting with Jack Zduriencik) by 10:30 am Monday morning.

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- TH

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