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March 1, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Mariners prepare for first intrasquad game

The good news for the Mariners this morning is that the sun is out and the temperature has gone back up steadily. That’s allowed some of the fields here to start drying off, including the one you see in the photo above. That’s where the Mariners are likely going to have today’s intrasquad affair, which starts at noon Pacific time. You can see the lineups of both teams on the opposite page.
Franklin Gutierrez had a sore arm the past few days and is getting a rest. We’re told it’s nothing abnormal for this time of year.
Some of you may have already read our newspaper story today on young Mariners pitcher Mauricio Robles, one of the guys acquired in the Jarrod Washburn trade. There was plenty of other stuff from my interview with him that I wanted to mention, but did not have the space to do it.
First off, he doesn’t even turn 21 until Friday. That somehow got edited out of the story, so my apologies for that.
It’s amazing how many names of big league pitchers have been dropped already in comparison to this guy.
You’ve already heard me mention Jair Jurrjens of the Braves, one of the better NL starters last season. That’s what the people in Detroit were saying.
Well, Mike Sweeney says the change-up that Robles throws to offset his blistering fastbball — from a lefty at that — is what makes a guy like J.C. Romero so successful.
And not to be outdone, Guillermo Quiroz says that Robles tends to short-arm his pitches in much the same fashion as closer Billy Wagner — making him all that more deceptive.
That’s a lot of name dropping in regards to a kid still in Class A ball.
Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair, in today’s story, credits Robles for having a maturity level beyond his 20 years of age. He also mentioned his “infectious smile” and positive work ethic. One thing you should know is that Robles conducted the entire interview in English, a language he didn’t even speak when he arrived in the Midwest league in 2008.
It was a lonely life at first for someone just 19 and away from his homeland for the first time.
“I used to go eat at McDonald’s a lot at first,” Robles said. “I’d just order ‘Big Mac’, or ‘Combo Meal’ because that’s all I could do.”
He eventually learned to speak English by speaking to members of the host family that was billeting him during his baseball season.
“They couldn’t speak any Spanish so I had to learn English,” he said. “I just tried speaking to them and eventually, I learned the words to say. I’m still getting better at it., It’s not perfect yet, but I understand every word that gets said to me.”

A lot of you are still asking about the team’s revamped weight room. Have a look at it in the video above.
In more news, a release just sent out by ACTA Sports has Bill James listing the Mariners as No. 18 in MLB in terms of his “young talent” index. This is exactly where they rated last year, but ahead of their No. 25 ranking two years ago. James has Felix Hernandez as No. 1 on his entire list of “young talent” players. Cliff Lee, Jose Lopez, Franklin Gutierrez and David Aardsma round out Seattle’s top-five.
The Rays are No. 1.
Why are the Mariners still fairly well down the list? James offers an explanation.
“Competitive teams don’t have as much room to let young players thrash around,” he writes. “And consequently, most of the young teams don’t show as having a lot of young talent. They may have the young talent; it just isn’t in the lineup yet.”
Intrasquad lineups:
RF Ichiro
2B Chone Figgins
LF Milton Bradley
DH Ken Griffey Jr.
3B Jose Lopez
1B Casey Kotchman
CF Eric Byrnes
SS Jack Wilson
C Josh Bard
RHP Ian Snell
LF Michael Saunders
CF Ryan Langerhans
1B Ryan Garko
DH Mike Sweeney
SS Jack Hannahan
RF Michael Wilson
2B Matt Tuiasosopo
C Adam Moore
3B Josh Wilson
LHP Jason Vargas
We’ll give you a rundown on the game on Geoff Baker Live! tonight at 6 p.m. Pacific time.
If you missed our last show from Friday, here it is again:

We’ll gi

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