Follow us:

Mariners blog

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

February 13, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Mariners spring training is officially underway

We’ve spent part of the morning watching the Mariners go through pitchers’ fielding practice and throw some bullpen sessions. Yes, that means spring training is officially underway.

Don’t forget, we’ll have the Felix Hernandez press conference at 2 p.m. PT today from Safeco Field. The Hernandez extension is obviously viewed as a coup by the Mariners organization and is good news for teammates who’ve come to rely on him over the years.

“To us, he is the best pitcher in baseball,” Mariners starter Blake Beavan said. “He’s the kind of guy you can go to for advice, he’s easy to talk to. He’s always been good to younger guys. That’s all you hear from guys on other teams who have gotten to know him, too. Having him on our team is whatwe’ve been built around. So, I think it’s good for Seattle to keep a guy like that for a long time to build around a franchise. He is the face of our team.”

Mariners pitchers take fielding practice this morning in Peoria, AZ.

It’s interesting to hear a guy like Beavan, who is 24, talk about Hernandez, 26, as if he’s so much older and wiser.

“I think I look at him as an older guy because I’m still inexperienced,” Beavan said. “Especially compared to him. He came up when he was19, he’s 26 now and about to be 27. He’s got six years in and he is a veteran whether he’s 24, or 25 or 26. I think everybody looks up to him as a veteran regardless of age.”

Before today’s workout began, I chatted with catcher Mike Zunino, the team’s third overall pick from last June, as he prepared for his first major league camp. Zunino arrived down here in Arizona on Saturday and spent a couple of days hanging out at the complex with some of his new teammates before today’s workout.

I asked him whether he felt nervous.

Erasmo Ramirez throws to first base during a “comebacker” drill this morning at Mariners spring training.

“Yes and no,” he said. “The guys down here have been really good. They told me if I have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask. I’m just going to sit back, take it all in and learn as I go. I’m pretty excited about the whole thing.”

Zunino had a busy off-season, capped by a solid Arizona Fall League performance. After that ended in November, he and his new wife –they got married right before the AFL began — took a few weeks off back home in Florida. He headed up to Gainesville — where he spent years at the University of Flordia — for a couple of weeks of training. Then, they headed to Tennessee to spend the Christmas holidays before he really settled back in to prepare for camp.

“It was nice to get a bit of a break after last year, but right now, I’m really just ready to go.”

Comments | More in spring training | Topics: Blake Beavan, felix hernandez, Mike Zunino

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►