Update 11:19 a.m.: Brandon Maurer’s scheduled session of throwing live BP was scratched today when his back locked up.
I’m giving Ryan a little break this morning — these kids today need to pace themselves — which allows me a return to the Mariner blog after an extended absence. I’m not saying I’ve been away for awhile, but as far as I could tell, the last post I made here was, “Mariners DFA Bay to make room for Morse.”
Lloyd McClendon revealed a camp injury, but don’t get too alarmed. It was hitting coach Howard Johnson, who broke a toe when struck by an errant line drive yesterday.
“He’s on the DL, but he’ll be fine,” McClendon said. “It’s one of those things that happens.”
Otherwise, the team is healthy so far. Taijuan Walker threw a bullpen yesterday with no apparent problem; McClendon said Walker and Felix Hernandez will throw at least one more bullpen session before joining the other pitchers in throwing live BP. Meanwhile, outfielder Corey Hart has had no setbacks in his comeback from two knee surgeries.
“We have to be smart with what we do with him,” McClendon said. “Hopefully, he doesn’t have any setbacks. I think it’s smart to take the cautious road with him. He’s moving great. He can sprint well. Obviously, being a big guy, he’s a little tender moving side to side, but as we progress, I think that will get better as well.”
McClendon gave some insight into how he sees his outfield alignment, though he stressed that no decisions have been made. He’d like Hart to be in right, and said Dustin Ackley will be looked at as a left-fielder rather than in center, where he played 50 of his 59 outfield games last year. Asked why left and not center for Ackley, McClendon replied, “Because that’s where I want him.”
McClendon said Michael Saunders, Abraham Almonte and Stefen Romero can play all three outfield positions. Willie Bloomquist and Endy Chavez also have center-field experience. It would seem that Saunders slots in as the primary center fielder, though there is some sentiment he is more suited for a corner spot.
“(Logan) Morrison, as we progress, will probably get some time out in left and right,” McClendon said.
He cited Xavier Avery, acquired from Baltimore in the Morse trade, as a young outfielder he’d like to get a look at this spring. Avery has 32 games of major-league experience.
Another thing I found interesting is that McClendon said in an ideal world, he’d like Kyle Seager to hit second, in front of Robinson Cano and Hart.
“Ideally, if we’re real good, he’s hitting second,” McClendon said. “But I don’t know. We’ll see how it all works out.”
The manager also said that he doesn’t see John Buck, the likely backup catcher, as a DH option.
“I’ll never say never, but I think he’s probably highly unlikely. It just depends on the makeup (of the roster). I believe you need protection, a third catcher type of guy. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a third catcher, but someone who can go back there. I’d be a little reluctant to do that (play Buck at DH) without that guy.”