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March 2, 2014 at 7:53 AM

Sunday morning links, notes and lineups: Randy Wolf makes his first Cactus League start


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And here’s the pitching probables for today ….

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A few notes

Official game notes ….03.02.14 ST Game Notes

Brandon Maurer (lower back stiffness) will throw live batting practice this morning. He’s inching closer to getting into a Cactus League game. McClendon reiterated that the organization views Maurer as a starter. When he’s healthy, he’ll join the rotation of pitchers competing for starting spots.

“I saw him live against us last year in Detroit, I thought his stuff was tremendous, plus fastball, plus slider,” McClendon said. “The biggest for thing him is getting connected with his inner self and understanding who he is and what he is all about on the mound and not getting too emotional. If you are a starter, you can’t get caught up in the emotions. You’ve got to pretty much keep things under control. That’s one of the things he’s working on this spring.”

Fernando Rodney is scheduled to throw live batting practice tomorrow. A few people asked if Rodney is injured because he is behind in his throwing program compared to other relievers. McClendon said everything is fine and that veteran closers get ready at a different pace than others.

Stephen Pryor threw a bullpen session yesterday.

“He felt great,” McClendon said. “He continues to move forward. He feels good about what he’s doing.”

Pryor’s schedule is still far from defined. The Mariners are easing him back carefully after season-ending surgery to repair a torn latissmus dorsi.

I tweeted out a picture earlier of a chart that is on the board in the Mariners’ clubhouse (which I wasn’t supposed to do – pictures in the clubhouse). But the chart is interesting that the Mariners are making a point to keep track of ground ball outs and strikeouts vs. fly ball outs. This was pitching coach Rick Waits idea, according to McClendon. The logic is simple – the first two are better than the other.

“One of the things we try to keep accomplish is pound the ball down in the zone and pitch in,” he said. “If you can keep the ball on the ground, you have a better chance of getting outs than a ball in the air. It keeps the ball in the ballpark.”

Here’s the upcoming pitchers …

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For planning purposes on that split squad day … it appears Robinson Cano will stay in Peoria and face the Rockies, which is not surprising. It means I will likely stay in Peoria as well.


Here’s my very long story on Danny Hultzen for today’s paper. Big thanks to the Times’ copy desk for helping me with that story, which was filed later than it should have been and was probably about 500 words too long. That’s the thing about Hultzen, everyone I talked to for the story had so many good things to say about him. It felt like I couldn’t get all of it into the story. I probably could have written a lot more.

It’s hard to know if I conveyed it in the story, but Hultzen’s upbeat, positive attitude about the situation is pretty amazing. People here in Peoria have marveled at his focus and drive. Hultzen’s honesty about the range of emotions he felt this last year was pretty refreshing.

While I try to remain as firmly unbiased as possible and avoid being a fan, I will admit I’m cheering for Hultzen to make it back. He’s a good kid He gets it. And you hate to see someone’s career taken away from him before it ever started. It’s why fans get infuriated when they see someone like Jesus Montero essentially wasting his opportunities given to him for no reason other than disinterest, while Hultzen has done everything right and can’t get on the field.

Here’s my notebook for the paper, talking to Scott Baker.

My buddy Tim Booth of the AP wrote this preview of Russell Wilson heading to the Cactus League on Monday for the Rangers. He’s got some good stuff from Mariners minor leaguers John Hicks and Jimmy Gillheeney, who’ve known Wilson before he was a Super Bowl god.

Jon Heyman was in camp yesterday, he wrote this story about Robinson Cano fitting in with the Mariners and also what he thinks about adding Ervin Santana and Kendrys Morales. Not surprisingly, he likes that idea.

Jerry Crasnick wrote about Scott Baker entering the Mariners’ rotation mix.

How about some video? ESPN’s Baseball tonight bus was in Peoria yesterday.  Here’s Cano talking about the Mariners.  Here’s Pedro Gomez and Tim Kurkjian breaking down the Mariners.  Here’s Lloyd McClendon talking about the team. 

Lookout Landing had the game recap. 



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