Hitters mostly watching as live batting practice begins
Rookie Michael Pineda throws batting practice on Monday as hitters faced the pitchers live for the first time. (Photo by Greg Johns).
The Mariners went into live batting practice for the first time today, though most of the hitters used the first day to just take pitches and get used to tracking the ball rather than hacking away in their first at-bats.
Erik Bedard, the first man on the mound, threw 33 pitches and only one of the five batters he faced — Matt Tuiasosopo — even took a full swing. Tuiasosopo fouled off Bedard’s third offering and then grounded a ball up the middle on his fifth and final pitch.
Otherwise, Ichiro, Gabe Gross, Jody Gerut and Alex Liddi all just stood and watched Bedard’s pitches fly by.
That’s not unusual on a first day when batters are just looking to get their timing down.
On the field I was watching, Bedard, Garrett Olson, Manny Delcarmen , Michael Pineda and Josh Lueke all threw about 35-40 pitches. Two hitters went deep … Jack Wilson taking Olson over the left-field wall and big Carlos Peguero (all 6-5, 245 pounds of him) absolutely crushed a Delcarmen pitch into the parking lot beyond the right-field fence.
Pineda was imposing, as expected, throwing 38 pitches. Milton Bradley was the first batter to face him and broke his bat on the second pitch, then was replaced in the order until his turn came back around. On his second look, he took four pitches and then grounded the ball to second.
Don’t bother reading too much into any of this other than that Spring Training really is getting rolling now. And there are some obvious things. Like Pineda really is physically imposing ont the mound at 6-5, 240 pounds.
“You can’t see much behind him,” Josh Wilson said of the view from the box when facing the 22-year-old for the first time. “He’s pretty big. Heck, if you’re going to build a prototypical right-handed pitcher, I think he fits the mold. He’s big, strong, throws over the top with a hard, heavy fastball and backs it up with good offspeed stuff, too. He has all the makings.”
Manager Eric Wedge spent a lot of time talking to his troops. He clearly is going to be a hands-on manager, pointing things out before and after many drills. Wedge said that will be particularly true early in his first camp as he works to make sure players understand what the coaches are looking for in different drills.
It’s worth noting that Brendan Ryan and Jack Wilson both took grounders at shortstop during the primary infield drills, with Justin Smoak at first, Adam Kennedy at second and Chone Figgins at third. Matt Tuiasosopo worked briefly behind Figgins at third before moving to back up Smoak.
Ryan later moved over to second base during some double-play drills, with Wilson remaining at shortstop.