Training Camp Day 3: More good stuff on the mound
Erik Bedard throws during his 10-minute bullpen session Wednesday in Peoria, Ariz. (Photo by Greg Johns)
Other than some clouds rolling in for the first time since camp opened, all was perfect in Peoria from a Mariners perspective Wednesday. Heck, even the clouds didn’t mask another day in the upper 70s, though it’s supposed to cool a bit tomorrow.
On the field, things continued progressing nicely on Day 3 as both Erik Bedard and Michael Pineda again looked sharp in their second bullpen sessions of the week.
Bedard seems to be throwing extremely well and, yes, I know everyone has heard this all before. And it won’t mean a thing unless he can stay healthy and do it during the regular season.
But these are the necessary first steps in that direction and manager Eric Wedge was among those who continue to be impressed.
Pineda is the other looming figure in the bullpen, for obvious reasons. The young man is huge, he throws hard and he appears to have very good command. The Mariners will keep their fingers crossed, but both Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis acknowledged that it’s hard to miss Pineda at this point.
THE TROOPS KEEP ARRIVING
Yusmeiro Petit arrived after clearing up his visa issues in Venezuela, so all 33 pitchers are now in camp. Petit was dealing with his physical today and didn’t throw, but presumably he’ll join in the fun Thursday.
Wedge said the schedule calls for three more days of bullpen sessions, then the pitchers will take a break for a day or two before beginning live batting practice once the full squad is in.
Position players continued trickling in, with Chone Figgins the newest arrival on Wednesday. Everyone is due for physicals on Friday and the first full workout will be Saturday.
KNOCK ON WOOD
Wedge said everyone has remained healthy through three days, which is always welcome news. Of course, that doesn’t include closer David Aardsma, who remains on crutches. He was able to put about 30 percent of his weight on his recovering hip on Wednesday and says he can begin walking without the aids when he gets to about 60 percent.
Wedge also said the first intrasquad game will be Feb. 25, so we’ve got nine more days until the first live action. Then the Mariners face San Diego in the annual charity game on Feb. 27 and we’re off and running.
FLOATS LIKE A BUTTERFLY …
I enjoyed talking this morning with knuckleballer Charlie Haeger and you can read that story here. It’s always amazing to me how the knuckler works. In his bullpen session today, Haeger was throwing to a Minor League catcher who got called in to help keep the big leaguers fresh and his first four pitches totally handcuffed the poor kid.
Not sure how much chance Haeger has of cracking the rotation, but if the Mariners need a spot starter/long reliever he could be in the mix. Just another story to watch in the coming weeks.
Here’s a photo I got showing Haeger’s grip, where he rests the finger tips of his two fingers on the ball. I don’t know which is more amazing, the way he floats that thing or the fact I actually got a decent picture of it in focus, given my limited photography skills!
Charlie Haeger throws his knuckleball during Wednesday’s workout. (Photo by Greg Johns)