The weather down here has taken a turn towards the cool side but at least it wasn’t raining today like it was on Wednesday. That means the Mariners were able to get plenty of fielding drills in to make up for yesterday’s rain-abbreviated workout.
On the outfield side of things, it was interesting to see one group that consisted of Michael Morse and Jason Bay in left field, Franklin Gutierrez in center and Michael Saunders and Raul Ibanez in right. They too turns getting to balls in the gaps, hitting the cutoff men with relay throws and stuff like that. It’s entirely possible those five guys could be your Opening Day outfield for this team, at those respective positions. But we’ll see. Don’t forget, the team still has Casper Wells in the mix.
“We were able to get a lot of work done today,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “We had to make up a little bit fundamentally for yesterday. The guys did a nice job with that.”
The team opens Cactus League play tomorrow against the San Diego Padres in the annual Charity Game at Peoria Stadium. Wedge said he’ll try to get position players an at-bat or two over a few innings. Two players who won’t be taking part in any of that will be shortstop Brendan Ryan and second baseman Dustin Ackley , both coming off surgery and being eased back into things this spring.
“It’s just to give them a little more time,” Wedge said. “They’re practising well and doing a nice job. But I just think it’s important to give them a little more time.”
Both players will be held out of the entire weekend series against San Diego.
That means the team should get a nice look at infielder Robert Andino. We discussed him earlier today on the blog and Wedge feels he is a better complement to Ackley, Ryan and third baseman Kyle Seager than previous backup infielders last season.
“You look at the two left-handers,” Wedge said of Seager and Ackley. “He (Andino) is right-handed. Ryan has struggled offensively. Andino has shown a little more of a bat during his career. We’re hopeful that Brendan will come back and be much better offensively for us but again, I just like the experience factor, the versatility and his (Andino’s) overall skillset.”
Wedge also likes the fact Andino has had recent seasons with plenty of playing time. As was discussed earlier, the team rarely used Munenori Kawasaki last season once it became apparent he wasn’t up to MLB caliber and Wedge welcomes having a backup he feels he can now go to more often.
“No doubt about it,” Wedge said of Andino being a guy he can use more. “I mean, that was one of the reasons we felt we needed to go out and get somebody like that.”
Wedge said he had a conversation with Andino todayand told him he’s a guy he’d have no problems “playing and starting at multiple positions” depending on what happens going forward.