Big boys continue putting on a hitting display

MoralesSmile1Another pretty impressive hitting display by the big boys at Mariners camp this morning, with Kendrys Morales (pictured above), Michael Morse, Raul Ibanez and Jason Bay all driving the ball with power throughout their batting practice session.

It’s interesting that those four newcomers have immediately been lumped together as the first hitting group in batting practice, but the reason why is evident as soon as they go to work.

Morse, in particular, is a powerful man who drives the ball with aggression. But Ibanez and Morales also are obviously professional hitters with good strength. And on Sunday, Bay looked much better as he hit the ball with authority throughout the session.

Of course, this is just batting practice against coaches laying the ball in there. But this type of group power display is something that hasn’t been seen in Mariners camp for a while now and even manager Eric Wedge has taken notice.

“It’s impressive,” said the skipper. “Obviously they all have their own type of presence, which means a lot to me. That’s important. They’re here to perform and help us win ballgames. If you look at what they do in the cage, the way they handle themselves in drills, the way they move around, the way they lead, all those things are impressive to me.”

Things figure to quiet down on Monday when live batting practice begins. That means hitters stepping into the cage for the first time against Mariners pitchers, who to this point have been sharpening up in bullpen sessions without opposition.

The first day of live BP often involves hitters just standing at the plate tracking pitches, getting used to seeing the ball and honing their timing. So it’ll be interesting to see how much the big boys try to unleash, if at all.

Pitchers throwing live batting practice Monday will be Blake Beavan, Hector Noesi, Kameron Loe, Oliver Perez, Logan Bawcom, Andrew Carraway, Danny Farquhar, Brian Moran, Carson Smith, Jonathan Arias, Anthony Fernandez, D.J. Mitchell and Chance Ruffin.

Then on Tuesday, it’ll be Taijuan Walker, Charlie Furbush, Josh Kinney, Erasmo Ramirez, Tom Wilhelmsen, Carter Capps, Bobby Laframboise, Brandon Maurer, Yoervis Medina, Danny Hultzen, Lucas Luetge, James Paxton and Stephen Pryor.

The veteran starting candidates — Joe Saunders, Hisashi Iwakuma, Jeremy Bonderman and Jon Garland — all are throwing an extra bullpen session instead of jumping immediately into live BP.

Bonderman and Garland, both coming back from arm injuries, each threw Sunday and again impressed Wedge. Iwakuma and Saunders will throw in the bullpen Monday, along with Jhonny Nunez, who was late to camp because of a visa issue.

Felix Hernandez is on his own schedule and is simply playing catch right now as he eases into things. Wedge said Hernandez will throw his first bullpen early this week.

The only other news Sunday was the arrival of catcher Ronny Paulino, who finally got his own visa issue worked out and got out of the Dominican Republic. Paulino has missed the first five days of workouts, but took his physical Sunday and is expected to practice Monday.


As the toolman would say, MOREEEEEEEEEEEE POWER

What’s up with these visa issues. Do these guys wait until the last minute to apply?

In Paulino’s case, yeah, he waited until he signed with the Mariners late in the offseason.

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