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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

February 14, 2007 at 12:55 PM

Springing forward

Hard to believe spring training has already started! It has, at least in a quasi-official manner as some Mariners arrived at the Peoria Sports Complex for their physicals this morning. There has been plenty written about the Mariners and their offseason moves and much more will follow in this forum in coming weeks as the team strives to avoid a fourth consecutive last-place finish.
There is only one possible spring theme for a team like the Mariners, which will have precious little competition for open spots: staying healthy.
Seattle desperately needs a quick start to the season and that can be accomplished only with the regulars being on the field come April.
To that end, one of the more important clubhouse arrivals this morning was second baseman Jose Lopez, who suffered a sprained ankle last month while playing winter ball in his native Venezuela.
Lopez is a key to the infield defense the Mariners hope will produce more wins than expected out of a starting staff of ground-ball pitchers. Having him on the field is imperative for that quick start to materialize.
So far, after a visit with the team’s medical staff, the news is good.
“They told me I’ll be ready to play in games in two or three weeks,” Lopez said, adding that the timetable will have him ready for the start of Cactus League play in early March.
Lopez has been strengthening his leg with weights and by working out on a stationary bicycle. He expects to be allowed to start hitting Monday.
The team’s All-Star representative from last season says he hurt his ankle while leaping in the air to make a throw to first from behind the second-base bag.
“I made the play,” he said with a smile. “But I hurt myself doing it.”
We’ll be following developments on a daily basis down here and throughout the regular season on this online forum. Feel free to email comments and questions and we’ll address them when we can.

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