The Mariners are done with their first full-squad workout of spring training. In the video above, see some of the position players engage in that tortuous 300-yard shuttle run. We focus primarily on Adrian Beltre, Jose Lopez and Mike Morse in their group. The first video of the shuttle run, featuring Carlos Silva and Felix Hernandez, was one of our most-watched ever. This one won’t disappoint.
See new Mariners center fielder Franklin Gutierrez let one rip in the batting cage earlier this afternoon in the photo above. Down below, Gutierrez (right) chats with Jamie Burke.
We asked Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu what he looks for from hitters taking their first cuts in the cage at this point in spring training. He told me things like the fluidity of a swing, hand strength and comfort level when hitters are swinging the bat. If any of those areas is lacking, the coaching staff can jump on it and bring players up-to-speed quickly, before the games begin.
Beltre impressed Wakamatsu with some of his swings. Remember that Beltre was nursing a bit of a still shoulder today.
“I thought Beltre swung the bat pretty good,” he said. “That was encouraging with his shoulder sore and all.”
Wakamatsu isn’t overly concerned about Beltre’s discomfort.
“I think it’s to be expected,” he said. “He’s right where we thought he would be. The thumb’s good. The shoulder’s a little achy, but nothing serious.”
Wakamatsu said “this is kind of his trial” when it comes to Beltre and whether he will be advised to go to the World Baseball Classic.
On the pitching side, he like what he saw out of starter Jarrod Washburn and relievers Luis Pena and Shawn Kelley so far.
We asked him about Mike Sweeney and whether he would see the field at all in 2009.
“The only defense you’ll see out of Sweeney will be at first base,” he said. “But he’ll get a little bit over there. Again, that’s going to depend on his health and where he’s at. He’s swinging the bat pretty good.”
The Mariners also plan to get Russell Branyan some minor league at-bats against lefthanders, or else bring a southpaw up to face him in a simulated game.
Yet another catcher was added to major league camp today, with Israel Nunez, a native of Mexico, getting the call. Nunez is the sixth catcher in camp — the fourth to be invited. He appeared in 59 games for Class A Wisconsin last year.
Kenji Johjima is away, training with Team Japan, while Luis Oliveras tore his ACL and is done for this season, leaving the M’s scrambling to find enough guys to catch all the pitchers here. Veteran catcher Jason Phillips was signed yesterday.
Wakamatsu knows things are about to get dicey roster-wise when it comes to the WBC.
“Right now, we’re looking at these intra-squads and trying to get two full teams together,” he said. “It’s never been an issue before.”
Felix Hernandez, one of the Venezuelan team members, taked today about how he prepared himself earlier than usual to be ready for the tournament.
“I think I worked a little harder,” he said. “I started earlier than I used to. Like in November, early November.”
Venezuelan manager Luis Sojo, familliar to M’s fans for his role on the 1995 playoff team, visited camp today. But Hernandez said Sojo had nothing to do with his early start.
“I didn’t talk to Luis,” he said. “I just did it on my own.”
In other words, Hernandez is pumped. He told us he only pitched for his country one other time, in a tournament against Nicaragua back when he was about 12. This has been a long time coming for him.