Pitchers, catchers hit the field for first time
The 35 Mariners pitchers and seven catchers in camp hit the field for the first time Sunday morning in Peoria, Ariz., after manager Eric Wedge and pitching coach Carl Willis addressed the troops with their first meeting.
“It’s good to see the guys outside in uniform,” Wedge said at the conclusion of the first workout. “It’s a nice day here in Arizona and it’s just about getting it rolling and getting it off the ground and that’s what we did today. Not a whole lot happened. Half the guys threw bullpens today and the other half will throw tomorrow. Position players are trickling in a little bit, so that’s where we are.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do to prepare for Opening Day in Japan and we’ve got a lot of players in camp that we need to give ample time to as we prepare to put this thing together.”
It’s a group with a lot of new faces. Only 10 of the pitchers were in Major League camp with the Mariners last spring — Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Blake Beavan, Shawn Kelley, Brandon League, Yoervis Medina, Tom Wilhelmsen, Mauricio Robles, Cesar Jimenez and James Paxton. And even from that group, Kelley and Jimenez were injured most of camp and Paxton was only in for about a week.
Hernandez and Vargas — who Wedge said will likely be his opening starters in Japan — were among the 17 pitchers who threw bullpen sessions.
Among the newcomers, Japanese free agent Hisashi Iwakuma drew the most attention with a large gathering of Japanese journalists following his every move. Iwakuma signed a lot of autographs coming off the field, then spoke with the media through intepreter Daisuke Sekiba.
I’ll have a story on that on Mariners.com later today, as well as further updates.