An inside look at first few days of Mariners camp
Let’s face it. The first week of Spring Training doesn’t answer a lot of questions. It’s all about pitchers shaking off the rust, doing some throwing and beginning to build up arm strength for the long haul ahead.
But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been some interesting things to watch in Mariners camp the first three days. My favorite moments so far have centered around watching the young guns. The first week, pitchers throw 10-minute bullpen sessions every other day in groups of six.
Typically, the top pitchers go in the first group each day. So you’ll get your Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas and Hisashi Iwakuma and Brandon League in the first group.
The second set of six will be less-heralded players and the third group usually are guys just happy to be there.
But in the Mariners case, the final group both Sunday and today included the fearsome foursome of prospects: James Paxton, Danny Hultzen, Erasmo Ramirez and Taijuan Walker. Those four lined up throwing side-by-side is something to behold. Here’s a picture of them today. Yes, this is the future for the Mariners. Yes, Ramirez is short (and throws surprisingly hard for a guy of that size). And, no, they won’t be throwing in the final group in future years in their Major League careers.
The other fun guy to watch has been catcher Jesus Montero as he goes about his business. The kid is 22 and looks young. But he’s a big, lanky kid who seems to move pretty well and I’m eager to see him in batting practice when full-squad activities begin Saturday.
All these kids are learning their way in their first camps. Hultzen, below, had to introduce himself to new catcher John Jaso after his throwing session. That won’t happen too many times in the future either for last year’s No. 2 Draft pick. But new pitchers are learning new catchers and it’s all part of the process.
By Friday the position players will all be in camp and the first full-squad workout is Saturday. Outfielder Trayvon Robinson, sporting new glasses, was the latest to arrive. He was on the field for the first time today. Lots of new looks. Lots of new faces. It’ll be interesting to see how all this comes together in the coming weeks.