Thinning clubhouse, pitching plans and today’s lineup
A lot less crowded in the clubhouse this morning after 15 players were sent packing to the Minor League side on Sunday. In the Mariners world, once players are cut they not only send the player to the adjacent Minor League clubhouse, they physically remove the big wooden locker and take it away.
Yesterday morning, clubhouse workers were packing out the lockers literally as players were being informed of their departure. It always makes for a tough day as its no fun seeing guys dreams get shattered, even when it’s usually pretty clear ahead of time which players are going to be the early cuts.
As spring proceeds, the numbers grow smaller and smaller until the final 25 remain. The Mariners still have some work to do, with 42 in camp. They’ll take 30 to Japan on March 22.
Meanwhile, here’s today’s lineup vs. the Rangers (1:05 p.m. in Peoria):
Chone Figgins CF
Brendan Ryan SS
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Jesus Montero C
Mike Carp LF
Miguel Olivo C
Alex Liddi 1B
Vinnie Catricala 3B
Munenori Kawasaki 2B
Blake Beavan RHP
It’ll be interesting to watch how the pitching plays out in these last couple weeks. Beavan is certainly in the mix for one of the final three rotation spots behind Felix Hernandez and Jason Vargas. But Hector Noesi, Hisashi Iwakuma and now Erasmo Ramirez also are contending for those spots as well.
Noesi will start Tuesday’s Cactus League game against the Brewers in Maryvale, with Millwood going Wednesday night against the Royals in Peoria. Vargas will throw in a Minor League game Wednesday to keep him on schedule, but the club obviously wants to see more of Millwood to figure out where he’s at this spring at 37.
Then Ramirez will start on Thursday night against the Giants in Peoria, which will also be worth watching. He is the one young prospect the Mariners chose to keep in camp and manager Eric Wedge said yesterday he’s “in the mix” for a rotation or bullpen role.
Everyone wants to know why Danny Hultzen, James Paxton and Taijuan Walker got sent down Sunday, but it’s a pretty simple matter. None of those youngsters were going to make the big club out of spring and they need to get more innings to get stretched out. They were only able to throw one or two innings while pitching en masse, so they’ll be spread out now and allowed to get ready in Minor League games so they’ll be ready to go when the season starts.
After that, we’ll see how they do in the coming months. Getting sent down now doesn’t mean they can’t be brought back at some point during the season.