March 2013

Oliver Perez talks about brawl in WBC game

Canada v Mexico - World Baseball Classic - First Round Group D

Oliver Perez (left) and coaches from Mexico grapple with Canada’s Scott Mathieson during Saturday’s brawl in the World Baseball Classic game in Phoenix. (Getty photo)

With his Mexican team eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, Oliver Perez rejoined the Mariners on Sunday and talked about the wild ninth-inning brawl in Saturday’s 10-3 loss to Canada.

The veteran left-hander was one of seven players ejected from game at Chase Field in Phoenix after things got ugly when Mexico’s Arnold Leon hit Rene Tosoni with a pitch after Canada had bunted with a 9-3 lead.

As the benched emptied, some wild punches were thrown as players pushed and shoved. And Perez was right in the middle of the action until being restrained by teammates.

“Everyone just reacted,” Perez said Sunday in the Mariners clubhouse. “Sometimes people push too hard and you can get mad. Normally when you go [out] there, you’re trying to separate your teammates so nobody can get hurt. When fights go wild, anybody can get hurt and that can hurt your career. That’s a tough time.

“But when you’re in there, it’s just reaction. You don’t want anybody to punch or push you. We’re humans. And in those moments, you just react. That’s how the game is. Nobody wanted to get hurt, but it’s a man’s sport and sometimes one gets mad and everything happens.”

Perez said it was the first time he’d been in a brawl since he hit a batter while pitching in a Mexican League.

“But that wasn’t on purpose,” he said. “And that was like 18 years ago …”

Perez said he never saw Mariners teammate Michael Saunders, who plays for Canada, during the brawl. He said most of the scene was largely a blur until he caught the replays on TV himself.

“After the game, you still are thinking, ‘What’s going on? What happened?’” he said. “And when you start to see the tapes, you see it different when you are outside the lines. But when you are there, you don’t have words to say. You just react.”

Perez rejoined the Mariners as soon as he learned Mexico was eliminated by the U.S. victory over Italy on Saturday night. He said he didn’t want to miss any more time with the Mariners having an off day scheduled for Monday as he prepares for his second season in Seattle.

Perez is back, plus other Sunday news from Mariners

Oliver Perez rejoined the Mariners this morning with Mexico now officially eliminated from WBC contention. After being involved with the ninth-inning brawl against Canada on Saturday, he said players were just reacting instinctively to what he called a “crazy” situation.

I’ll have more on that later.

For now, here’s the lineup today as the Mariners host the White Sox at 1:05 p.m. in Peoria Stadium:

Kyle Seager 2B
Jason Bay LF
Raul Ibanez DH
Michael Morse 1B
Carlos Peguero RF
Kelly Shoppach C
Julio Morban CF
Robert Andino 3B
Brad Miller SS

Andrew Carraway P

Carraway gets his first Cactus League start and will throw two innings. Taijuan Walker will follow and also is scheduled for two innings, followed by Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge and Carter Capps.

In other news this morning, Casper Wells is still walking around with a stiff neck that he says tightened up on him after he did some weight work Saturday. Doesn’t look like he’ll be playing for a day or two until that clears up.

Also, while the team is off on Monday, Blake Beavan and Erasmo Ramirez will pitch four innings each in a game against Minor League hitters as they continue building up their pitch counts.

Then on Monday, Felix Hernandez is scheduled for the first three innings when the Mariners host the D-backs in Peoria.

Saunders shines before WBC brawl begins (with video)

Things got ugly between Canada and Mexico in the World Baseball Classic this afternoon at Chase Field in Phoenix with a big brawl in the ninth inning of Canada’s 10-3 victory.

Mariners reliever Oliver Perez didn’t pitch in the game for Mexico, but was in the middle of the dust-up. You can see him being pulled away from the pile midway through this video.

Perez wound up being one of eight players ejected from the game.

Mariners outfielder Michael Saunders is also visible in the video, though it doesn’t appear he was quite as involved. Saunders did his damage with his bat for Canada, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs and earning Player of the Game honors.

Saunders is 6-for-7 (.857) with four RBIs in two WBC games so far. Not too shabby.

Here’s the story on the game.

Saturday’s Game 15 recap: Dodgers 3, Mariners 2

GarlandJonPenPlayer of the Game: Jon Garland (pictured) continued strengthening his bid to land a rotation berth with one run and two hits in three innings of work. It was the veteran’s longest start yet as he returns from rotator cuff surgery that has sidelined him since 2011. Garland has a 1.50 ERA (one run and five hits in six innings) and said he felt strong and healthy, as well as bolstered mentally by throwing multiple innings without any issues.

Stat of the Game: For the first time in 15 Cactus League games, the Mariners were held without a home run. The club still leads all Major League teams with 30 long balls, but this time they lost on a two-run HR by Alex Castellanos off Yoervis Medina in the seventh inning. It was just the 10th home run this spring by the Dodgers.

Storyline: The Mariners out-hit the Dodgers 11-7, but went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position in scoring just two runs, their lowest output of the spring.

Worth noting: The Mariners went with a starting nine that closely resembled what we figure to see on Opening Day, though catcher Jesus Montero played in a morning “B” game and Michael Saunders is playing in the WBC for Canada. The batting order remains an experiment, however, as Eric Wedge went again with Franklin Gutierrez in the leadoff spot, but this time hit Kyle Seager second and dropped Dustin Ackley down to seventh. Gutierrez went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and is hitting .368 this spring.

Quote of the Game: “We’re looking at him as a guy in here competing to make our club. He’s been very impressive. I think today was his best day and he continues to push forward.”—Eric Wedge on Jon Garland’s comeback bid.

Next: Right-hander Andrew Carraway gets his first Cactus League start and is scheduled for two innings when the Mariners host the White Sox at 1:05 p.m. PT in Peoria.

Here’s is a link to today’s boxscore.

And here’s my daily notebook with all the news from camp.

Bay’s home run highlights ‘B’ game victory

Right fielder Jason Bay hit a three-run home run in the first inning as the Mariners topped the Padres 6-3 in an informal six-inning ‘B’ game Saturday morning at Peoria Stadium.

Bay’s opposite-field launch over the 385-foot fence in right-center continued his strong spring start, but won’t count in Cactus League statistics since “B” games are unofficial. Bay is hitting .400 with two home runs and four RBIs in 15 official at-bats. He went 1-for-2 with two walks in Friday’s non-counter.

The Mariners scheduled the extra contest after Friday’s game was canceled in the fourth inning by rain, leaving some of their pitchers needing extra work.

Veteran left-hander Joe Saunders gave up three runs [two earned] on four hits in 2 2/3 innings while throwing 53 pitches. Logan Bawcom threw 1 1/3 innings of relief with two hits and a walk, while Danny Farquhar pitched a perfect sixth inning with two strikeouts.

The Padres threw several young pitching prospects in the game, with Seattle pounding lefty Robbie Erlin for four runs on six hits and an error in the first before the inning was halted with no outs because Erlin had reached his pitch limit. Erlin pitched Double-A ball last year.

San Diego’s Jonathan Galvez hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run off Saunders in the first when left fielder Eric Thames and center fielder Francisco Martinez nearly collided as the ball bounded high off the fence in left-center and rolled halfway back to the infield.

Jesus Montero tripled for Seattle in the third inning on a blast off the right-center field wall, while Vinnie Catricala went 2-for-2 with a walk.

Lots of action with ‘B’ game added today

Saunders JoeThanks to Friday’s rain cancelation, we’ll get bonus baseball today as the Mariners are playing the Padres in a hastily-added ‘B’ game this morning at Peoria Stadium.

The Mariners will use the game to get Joe Saunders a start. Saunders (pictured above) was originally slated to come in after Jon Garland in today’s Cactus League game against the Dodgers in Glendale. Instead, he’ll pitch the first three innings of the seven-inning ‘B’ game.

Saunders has kind of flown under the radar this camp despite being one of the key offseason additions. The veteran lefty has only made one start, throwing two innings against the Rangers last Sunday, along with a one-inning relief appearance against the Brewers before that.

So the Mariners will begin stretching him out more with today’s three innings, which is the same that Garland will throw against the Dodgers.

Logan Bawcom and Danny Farquhar will then pitch two innings apiece to close out the ‘B’ contest, which has a pretty fair lineup of Mariners backup contenders along with starting catcher Jesus Montero.

Almost all the regulars are lined up to face the Dodgers in the afternoon game in Glendale, with a lineup so loaded that Dustin Ackley is batting seventh as Eric Wedge is taking a look this time at Franklin Gutierrez and Kyle Seager batting one-two.

Seager is eager to see if his younger brother Corey is playing for the Dodgers. Corey Seager, a first-round draft pick last year, is in Minor League camp but has been getting some time in Major League games. Kyle said he’s never played against Corey, who is seven years younger.

The young Seager isn’t in the starting lineup for the Dodgers, but Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are playing today, while Aaron Harang opens on the mound.

Here is today’s lineup against the Dodgers:

Franklin Gutierrez CF
Kyle Seager 3B
Kendrys Morales DH
Michael Morse RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Justin Smoak 1B
Dustin Ackley 2B
Jesus Sucre C
Brendan Ryan SS

Jon Garland P

And here is the ‘B’ lineup against the Padres at 10 a.m.:

Robert Andino SS
Brad Miller 3B
Jason Bay RF
Casper Wells CF
Eric Thames LF
Jesus Montero C
Ronny Paulino DH
Vinnie Catricala 1B
Carlos Triunfel 2B

Joe Saunders P

Coming up, Andrew Carraway gets his first Cactus League start on Sunday when the Mariners face the White Sox in Peoria. The club is off on Monday, then Felix Hernandez starts on Tuesday against the Diamondbacks in Peoria.

Today’s game is on 710 ESPN Seattle at 12:05 p.m. PT. The clocks shift to Daylight Savings Time everywhere in the U.S. except Arizona tomorrow morning, so that means for the rest of spring the time will be the same in Arizona as Seattle. So Sunday’s game is at 1:05 p.m. PT, as will the rest of the spring’s day games.

Friday’s recap: Rain washes away tough day

WellsCasperPlayer of the Game: It went for naught when the game was canceled in the fourth inning by rain, but Casper Wells (pictured) continued his excellent week with a solo home run in the second off A’s starter A.J. Griffin. Wells had nine RBIs in his last two games and would have made it 10 if Friday’s stats counted. Instead it was all wiped out, but that doesn’t change the fact that Wells is making a strong bid to win the final outfield spot in a crowded competition.

Stat of the Game: Hector Noesi’s Cactus League ERA would have climbed to 19.06 had Friday’s game not ultimately been washed out. Noesi allowed three home runs in two innings on a day when he got charged with seven runs (six earned) on five hits, two walks, a hit batter and wild pitch. Thanks to the rain, none of that counted officially. So Noesi’s ERA drops back to where it started at 14.73 in an already difficult three appearances this spring.

Storyline: Not a whole lot went right in this one, from Noesi’s rough start to a pair of errors and a miscommunicated fly ball, all leading to a 12-1 deficit when the rains came. But the Mariners weren’t trotting out their top-line pitchers against their AL West rivals and you could chalk this one up as a game to forget even before it got flushed by rain.

Worth noting: Young infielder Stefen Romero strained his left oblique muscle while striking out in the second inning and was undergoing tests Friday evening. That’s a tough blow, especially for a kid who’d gone 4-for-5 with a double, two home runs and seven RBIs the day before.

Quote of the Game: “He’s in here with a head full of steam trying to make this team, as are so many others. He’s made some legitimate adjustments to his game, in particular his swing, and it’s just paying off for him.”—Eric Wedge on Casper Wells’ continued strong showing.

Next: Jon Garland makes his third start of the spring when the Mariners travel to Glendale to face the Dodgers at 1:05 p.m. MT (12:05 p.m. PT). Garland has looked good so far, but this three-inning test will be big as he continues trying to show his shoulder is fully recovered from surgery. Joe Saunders is also slated for three innings. After Friday’s rain, the Mariners also lined up a seven-inning “B” game against the Padres for 10 a.m. in Peoria Stadium to get work in for the pitchers who lost time.

Here’s the partial boxscore from Friday’s unofficial game.

Here’s my story on Justin Smoak and his continued strong start.

And here’s my daily notebook with all the news from camp.

Looks like we’re playing ball in Peoria

The tarp is off the field here in Peoria, the anthem has been sung and there’s even some blue sky peeking out between the clouds. So it’s definitely game on, to start anyway, with forecasts still calling for rains throughout the Phoenix area this afternoon.

Today’s game starts at 12:05 p.m. PT and is live on 710 ESPN Seattle radio.

Here’s the lineup … if it doesn’t rain out

Lots of rain in the forecast today in Peoria and chances are high that we don’t get today’s game in against the A’s. But as of this moment, things are still go for the 1:05 p.m. MT (12:05 p.m. PT) contest.

If the Mariners do play, Eric Wedge has Dustin Ackley leading off ahead of Franklin Gutierrez, a flip-flop from two days ago when he took a look at Guti leading off ahead of Ackley. Obviously the skipper is looking at various scenarios there.

Also interesting to see Stefen Romero back in the lineup today at third base after his 4-for-5 game with two home runs and seven RBIs yesterday. I guess a day like that gets you an extra look.

Here’s the full lineup:

Dustin Ackley 2B
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Raul Ibanez LF
Justin Smoak 1B
Casper Wells RF
Jesus Montero C
Mike Zunino DH
Stefen Romero 3B
Brendan Ryan SS

Hector Noesi P

Looking ahead (and the weather is expected to clear up after today), Jon Garland is scheduled to start Saturday in Glendale against the Dodgers and go three innings, followed by another three from Joe Saunders.

Then on Sunday, Andrew Carraway gets the call and a two-inning start against the White Sox in Peoria, with Taijuan Walker to follow for one inning. Tom Wilhelmsen, Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor, Lucas Luetge and Carter Capps are also on the slate in that one.

Thursday’s recap: Mariners split two games

RomeroStephenPlayer of the Day: Young second baseman Stefen Romero (pictured) went 4-for-5 with two home runs – a grand slam and a three-run bomb – along with a double and seven RBIs in the Mariners’ 12-2 victory over the Royals in Surprise. Romero, who hit .352 with 23 home runs while splitting last season between A and AA ball, is one of the organization’s brighter hitting prospects and showed why as he raised his spring average to .500 (7-for-14) with his monster day

Stat of the Day: The Mariners launched four more home runs Thursday – three in the win over the Royals and one in a 7-3 loss to the A’s in the other half of the split-squad day – and now have 30 in 14 games this spring. The club totaled 28 homers in 26 Cactus League games last year. Romero had two and Casper Wells one against K.C., while Robert Andino went deep against the A’s. That makes 18 different players contributing to the 30-homer total.

Storyline: Felix Hernandez made his Cactus League debut, allowing one run on two hits in two innings while throwing 33 pitches against the Royals and Hisashi Iwakuma continued his strong spring start with three scoreless innings with just one hit. Brandon Maurer also had another strong showing with three innings of one-run ball against the A’s. That pitching would have carried the day until young Romero stole the show with his bat.

Worth noting: Wells continued his strong week with a four-RBI game of his own against the Royals, giving him nine runs batted in over his past two games. The 28-year-old outfielder leads the club with 12 RBIs this spring while hitting .259 in eight games.

Quote of the Game: “It’s all word of mouth. It’ll get back to them. No matter who is watching, you just have to go out and perform.”—Romero after a reporter noted his big game came while manager Eric Wedge was at the other split-squad game and didn’t see it.

Next: Hector Noesi makes his fourth appearance – and second start – of the spring at 1:05 p.m. MT (12:05 p.m. PT) when Seattle hosts the A’s in Peoria. Noesi is slated to throw two innings, followed by Kameron Loe, Chance Ruffin, Jhonny Nunez, Jonathan Arias, Danny Farquhar, Bobby LaFromboise and Brian Moran.

Here’s the boxscore from the 12-2 win over the Royals.

Here’s the boxscore from the 7-3 loss to the A’s.

Here’s my story on Felix and his first outing of the spring.

And here’s today’s notebook, with all the news from Mariners camp.