The latest news from Peoria on a busy Friday
James Paxton throws under the watchful eye of pitching coach Carl Willis on Friday. (Photo by Greg Johns/MLB.com)
Lots of things going on at Mariners camp today, including the debut of young James Paxton, the 6-foot-4 lefty who threw his first bullpen session since ending nearly a two-year holdout from pro ball.
Everyone from Jack Zduriencik on down gathered at the bullpen area adjacent to the team’s main practice field to watch the kid from Ladner, B.C.
Understandably, he bounced a few in the dirt — saying later he was still trying to iron out his release point on his changeup and breaking pitches. But Zduriencik and pitching coach Carl Willis both said they were duly impressed with his fastball location and general poise under the microscope.
Willis said there’ll likely be another bullpen session or two before any decision is made on when to toss Paxton out in a live batting practice or simulated game. Ultimately Paxton will end up in Minor League camp, which opens this weekend with the first full-squad workouts.
Manager Eric Wedge said after Friday afternoon’s 5-5 tie with the Indians that cuts from the Major League camp would be coming “sooner than later,” so you can figure the current 64 will begin getting whittled down in the next few days.
Lots of youngsters got long looks Friday as the Mariners went with mostly a “B” squad in the 10-inning tie. Matt Tuiasosopo, who doesn’t seem to have a logical fit on the big club at this point, continued making his usual Spring push with a 2-for-3 day that raised his average to .462 (6 for 13).
One of his hits was a ringing double off the base of the center-field wall. Tuiasosopo is now focusing strictly on first base and left field, with his action Friday coming in left.
Dustin Ackley also got a good run, making his third start of the spring and playing all 10 innings. He wound up 1-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored and a stolen base.
Odd line of the day went to Johermyn Chavez, who was 1-for-2 … while getting hit by pitches three different times.
Bad blood somewhere?
“Just one of those fluke days,” Wedge said. “The last one was a breaking ball and he got clipped. A couple other balls ran up and in on him. It was just one of those days. It’s one of the reasons you love the game. You just never know what the hell is going to happen out there.”
The Mariners will be back at it Saturday in Peoria against the A’s with Blake Beavan on the mound. The 6-7 Beavan is another of the interesting young — and large — prospects.
Felix Hernandez will throw four innings against Minor League hitters earlier in the morning on one of the practice fields, with reliever Chris Ray — testing a sore calf — also getting an inning in that practice game.