February 2013

Sunday’s Game 3 recap: Mariners 8, Padres 3

IbanezMugPlayer of the Game: Raul Ibanez (pictured) made his presence felt with a three-run blast in the first inning off old pal Freddy Garcia and finished up 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Afterward, the veteran said he feels better than he has in several springs and credited former teammate — and new hitting coach Dave Hansen — with helping in that regard.

Stat of the Game: The Mariners racked up 16 hits, including eight of the extra-base variety, while notching eight runs for a second straight day. It’s early and they’ve only faced the Padres so far in three games, but the offense is looking productive in the early going.

Worth noting: The Mariners have an interesting competition going for backup outfield spots and the prime contenders are making their cases early. Casper Wells, Jason  Bay and Ibanez have each homered in the first three games.

Quote of the Game:  “It’s kind of different, knowing he’s a Nicaraguan. We’re both fighting for spots, but sorry, I’m going to throw as hard as I can and if you’re going to ge t a base hit, alright, you hit it. But I’m not going to throw it right in the middle
or give you a sign.” — Erasmo Ramirez after getting Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera to pop out leading off the game. They are two of the four Nicaraguans in the Majors.

Next: The Mariners host the Angels on Monday at 12:05 p.m. PT in Peoria with Jeremy Bonderman getting his first start. Bonderman is on the comeback trail after sitting out the past two years with arm problems. Young prospects Brandon Maurer and Andrew Carraway are also among those expected to pitch.

Here’s the link to Sunday’s box score.

Here’s a story I wrote on Danny Hultzen, who has been impressive early in camp and will start Wednesday against the Indians.

And here’s my notebook with all of today’s news from camp.

Sunday’s lineup … and beyond

The Mariners finish up a three-game run with the Padres today at 1:05 p.m. MT (12:05 PT) with Erasmo Ramirez getting his first start.

With second baseman Dustin Ackley and shortstop Brendan Ryan being held out again as they’re being brought back slowly from offseason surgeries, Kyle Seager inherits the leadoff duties today with Michael Saunders dropped to the five spot.

Former Mariners right-hander Freddy Garcia, who is trying to crack the Padres rotation this spring as a non-roster invitee, gets the start for San Diego and is expected to throw two innings.

Here’s Seattle’s lineup:

Kyle Seager 3B
Robert Andino 2B
Raul Ibanez RF
Michael Morse LF
Michael Saunders CF
Jesus Montero DH
Vinnie Catricala 1B
Mike Zunino C
Nick Franklin SS

Erasmo Ramirez RHP

Among the other pitchers expected to go are James Paxton, Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Carter Capps and Josh Kinney.

Jeremy Bonderman will get his first start on Monday when the Mariners host the Angels at Peoria Stadium, then Hisashi Iwakuma and Joe Saunders are slated to throw Tuesday against the Brewers in the first spring road game at Maryvale.

I mistakenly said earlier that most of this week’s games aren’t on radio. But I was operating off an old schedule and need to correct that. Today’s game will be broadcast live on 710 ESPN Seattle. Monday’s game isn’t on radio and the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday games will be available on 710 ESPN only on a delayed basis at 7 p.m. PT. Those games will be streamed live on Mariners.com for free.

Next weekend’s games on Friday through Sunday will all be available live on 710 ESPN.

The first televised broadcast will be Monday, March 4, against the Rockies in a 12:05 p.m. PT game on ROOT Sports.

Saturday’s Game 2 recap: Mariners 8, Padres 6

BayJasonMugPlayer of the Game: Veteran left fielder Jason Bay (pictured) made a quick dent on this one, ripping a two-run homer on the second pitch he saw as a Mariner and then walking twice. For a guy trying to land a roster spot and regain his confidence after three trying years with the Mets, this was the perfect debut.

Stat of the Game: Seven pitches. That’s all lefty Danny Hultzen needed to zip through a 1-2-3 fifth inning, with two strikeouts included. The 2011 first-round Draft pick threw nothing but strikes in putting to rest any concern that his control was erratic after a rough finish last season in Triple-A.

Worth noting: The Mariners launched three two-run home runs, with long balls by Bay, Justin Smoak and Mike Jacobs, a veteran first baseman on a non-roster invite. Smoak’s left-handed poke in the fifth was impressive and helps reinforce his early work to retain the success he had at the end of last season.

Quote of the Game:  “I’ve kind of re-found it.” — Bay when asked about his batting stroke this spring after homering in his first at-bat.

Next: The Mariners and Padres play their third straight at 12:05 p.m. PT with Erasmo Ramirez getting the start. Also expected to throw are James Paxton, Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Carter Caps, Josh Kinney and Lucas Luetge.

Here’s the link to Saturday’s box score.

Here’s my full story on Bay’s day and his thoughts on his new situation.

Here’s my notebook with all Saturday’s news from camp.

And here’s a video from MLB.com on Smoak and Hultzen:


Wedge goes with all new lineup for Saturday

Casper Wells, who came off the bench to homer in the ninth inning of Friday’s Cactus League opener, gets the start in right field today the Mariners face the Padres again at 12:05 p.m. PT at Peoria Stadium.

Manager Eric Wedge has rolled out an entirely new lineup for Game 2, as usual for this time of spring, as he looks to get everyone into action early. That means Franklin Gutierrez and Justin Smoak are in the lineup today after sitting out Friday.

Here’s the full lineup:

Franklin Gutierrez CF
Casper Wells RF
Jason Bay LF
Justin Smoak 1B
Kelly Shoppach C
Ronny Paulino DH
Alex Liddi 3B
Nick Franklin 2B
Brad Miller SS

Blake Beavan P

Also scheduled to throw today are Kameron Loe, Taijuan Walker, Danny Hultzen, Bobby LaFromboise, Carson Smith, Jonathan Arias and Jhonny Nunez.

Wells, competing for a backup outfield spot, got off to a nice start with his two-run blast off Padres right-hander Brandon Kloess.

“It definitely helps confidence-wise,” Wells said. “You get into these games and there’s thoughts in your head about how long it’s going to take you to get used to hitting again. But all it takes is for you to hit a ball solid and you feel back in the swing of things.”

Pictures from Peoria: Let the games begin

Today marked the start of Cactus League play. I’m not a real photographer, so I don’t shoot pictures during games. That would take actual talent … not to mention I’m kinda busy in the press box writing while they’re playing. But I’ll continue to update the blog with scenes from the morning workouts when possible, to supplement the game coverage you’ll also find here on the blog and on Mariners.com.

Here’s what I saw today:


Right-hander Blake Beavan is eagerly awaiting his first start of the spring on Saturday against the Padres.


Veteran right-hander Jon Garland continued working toward returning from an 18-month layoff following shoulder surgery, throwing a 10-minute bullpen session. He’s expected to get his first start early next week.


Alex Liddi takes grounders at third base, where he’s spent most of his time this spring as the backup to Kyle Seager.


Closer Tom Wilhelmsen will see his first action in Sunday’s game.


Jack Donahue, a 17-year-old senior at Kirkland’s Juanita High School, came to camp as a Make-A-Wish participant and got a royal welcome. He spent a lot of time with Kyle Seager, seen here giving him an autographed bat, and chatted with numerous Mariners players — including Felix Hernandez — as well as Jack Zduriencik. Then he hung out in the clubhouse with Seager, getting a locker with his name on it, before the game against the Padres.

Friday’s game 1 recap: Padres 9, Mariners 3

Cactus League play got underway Friday with a 9-3 victory for the Padres in front of 5,495 fans at Peoria Stadium. I’ll do recaps of all the preseason games with some quick highlights every day from a Mariners perspective:

WellsCasperPlayer of the Game: Casper Wells (pictured at right) helped himself in his battle for a backup outfielder’s job with a two-run bomb in the bottom of the ninth to provide a good chunk of the Mariners’ offensive production on a day they totaled five hits.

Stat of the Game: Hector Noesi needed 42 pitches to get two outs in the first inning, which told a large story in this one. Noesi’s bid to compete for a rotation spot already seemed difficult and he didn’t help himself by getting hit hard during a six-run frame that saw four hits, four walks and an error by Raul Ibanez on a ball he lost in the sun in left field.

Worth noting: Michael Morse got three at-bats (going 1-for-3) and stayed in right field for six innings, while all the other Mariners starters got two plate appearances and came out after four or five frames. Why? Eric Wedge said Morse asked if he could get a third at-bat and the skipper was happy to comply.

Quote of the Game: “There’s no doubt there were a couple stumbles, but hopefully people can cut the Mariners a little slack and hopefully they’ll cut the new broadcaster a little slack, too. I have a feeling tomorrow when we go to do this again, I’ll be a lot calmer and a lot more relaxed.” — New Mariners radio man Aaron Goldsmith after his debut.

Next: The Mariners and Padres play again at 12:05 p.m. PT with Blake Beavan getting the start. I’ve got a story today on his new delivery, which he hopes will take better advantage of his 6-foot-7 height. Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker are also among the pitchers expected to each thrown one inning.

Here’s a link to Friday’s box score.

And finally, check out this video of Michael Saunders turning the tables on Rick Rizzs and interviewing the Mariners play-by-play man this morning.

It’s time for baseball as Mariners open vs. Padres

Yup, you know it’s time for baseball when they post a starting lineup in the Mariners clubhouse. We’ll be playing ball in Peoria at 1:05 p.m. MT this afternoon (or 12:05 p.m. PT) with the annual charity game against the Padres.

Here’s the Mariners lineup:

Michael Saunders CF
Kyle Seager 3B
Kendrys Morales DH
Michael Morse RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Jesus Montero C
Mike Jacobs 1B
Robert Andino SS
Carlos Triunfel 2B
Hector Noesi P

Noesi will just throw one inning as the Mariners get underway. Also expected to throw today: Oliver Perez, D.J. Mitchell, Andrew Carraway, Chance Ruffin, Logan Bawcom, Anthony Fernandez, Brian Moran and Danny Farquhar.

Manager Eric Wedge said Thursday that Dustin Ackley and Brendan Ryan wouldn’t play the first three games of spring as they come back from offseason surgeries.

Justin Smoak isn’t in the lineup today as they’re going with non-roster invitee Mike Jacobs, but as always, these are just spring games — and the first one at that — so don’t read a lot into things. I just talked to Smoak and he said he’s fine and ready to roll.

Franklin Gutierrez also isn’t in the lineup today as Bay and Morse are in the corners with Saunders in center and leading off in Ackley’s absence. It’s worth remembering that Cactus League etiquette requires every team to play at least three regular starters, so it could just be that Wedge is saving up some of his guys for Saturday and spreading things out.

As Smoak said: “We’ve got a long way to go here. There’s a lot of games to play.”

Today’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN 710 Seattle, as will games against the Padres at the same time on Saturday and Sunday. Games are also available on audio on MLB.com to subscribers.

There will be no televised games until Monday, March 4 against the Rockies.

Pictures from Peoria: The sun returned Thursday

IwakumaHisashi Iwakuma threw live batting practice as the Mariners got back out on the practice fields for their final warmup before Cactus League games begin Friday.


Shortstop Brendan Ryan fires to first during infield drills.


Stephen Pryor, one of several hard-throwing youngsters in the Mariners bullpen, has looked good in camp so far.


Right-handed reliever Carter Capps has opened eyes with his 100 mph heat, but here he goes with the soft toss to first during pitcher’s fielding drills.


Infield coach Robby Thompson directs traffic as the team practiced cutoffs on throws from the outfield.


Vinnie Catricala, one of the Mariners’ many bright faces of the future.

Wedge says Andino adds infield versatility

Andino1One of the upgrades the Mariners made this offseason that didn’t get a lot of attention was the acquistion of utility infielder Robert Andino, a 28-year-old who started much of the past two seasons at second base for the Orioles.

Andino came up in pro ball as a shortstop in the Marlins organization and is capable of playing third base as well. He’ll replace Munenori Kawasaki, who brought a lively personality to the Mariners last year, but didn’t threaten anyone at the plate.

Kawasaki had just one extra-base hit — a double — in 104 at-bats while hitting .192.

Andino had 21 extra-base hits — including seven home runs — in 374 at-bats last year while hitting .211. He batted .263 a year earlier and is a capable offensive player as well as a solid defender.

Which is why Eric Wedge acknowledged Thursday that he’ll be able to utilize Andino in a far greater role than Kawasaki and Chone Figgins, last year’s backup infielders.

“No doubt about it,” Wedge said. “That was one of the reasons we felt we needed to go out and get a guy like that. I talked to him about that today. I said, ‘Listen, we’re going to let all this play out. I’m not exactly sure what your role is going to be.

“But I’ll tell you one thing, I’m very confident with you playing and starting in multiple positions. I feel good about you up at home plate. And that’s not just because of what I”ve seen here early on. Obviously we just got here. But it’s also watching him over a period of time on the other side of the field.”

Andino is an interesting guy who plays hard and has eight years in the big leagues with the Marlins and Orioles. I did a full story on him on Mariners.com today in which he talks about feeling the same vibe in his new clubhouse as he felt a year ago in Baltimore, when the Orioles went on to shock the baseball world by getting in the playoffs and advancing to the ALDS with a 93-69 record after being picked to finish last in the AL East by most experts.

As he told several of his new Mariners teammates, “Why not us?” You can read all of Andino’s thoughts on his new start in Seattle here.

Pictures from Peoria: On Wednesday, the rain came

CagesIt looked a lot like Seattle weather today in Arizona — rainy and cold this morning — which isn’t good for Spring Training. But the Mariners made do by heading into the covered batting cages to get their work in. Here’s a group of players waiting their turn in the cage.

WellsCasperMedballOutfielder Casper Wells tosses a medicine ball during a drill designed to work on helping quickness in pushing off with the legs.


Catcher Kelly Shoppach talks with Hector Noesi after their bullpen session. Noesi will start Friday’s charity game against the Padres.


Felix Hernandez made his first throwing session of the spring, which led to a group of reporters trailing him out to the field where he warmed up.


Here’s Felix finally in the bullpen, under the watchful eye of pitching coach Carl Willis. Hernandez threw 33 pitches in his 10-minute period and said he felt great.