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March 16, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Sunday morning notes, links and line-ups

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Reserves …

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Note: Angels lineup won’t be in till later. They played a night game and had a late start for the clubhouse this morning. 

Updated Cactus League stats … 03.16.14 Stats

It’s good to be back after three body-crushing days in Las Vegas. Big thanks to the Times for coaxing me into taking a few days off and for Bob Condotta for stepping in. Bob will stick around for a little while longer to help with the day to day stuff as well. So that’s a good thing.

A few items of news from Lloyd McClendon’s morning media session …

When asked about the shortstop battle between Brad Miller and Nick Franklin, McClendon maintained that it’s even.

The logical thinking is the loser of the battle will start the season at Triple A Tacoma and play every day. McClendon wouldn’t make that guarantee.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I’m not sure. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

While McClendon said that, the odds of the loser of the battle taking a bench role seem slim. Young players need to play every day to get better. Both players need at-bats and innings in the field, taking a bench role would not allow that. I still think one of them ends up in Tacoma or is moved.

But hey, I’ve been wrong before.

Also, there has been no talk of converting Franklin to left field except for people asking on Twitter. If there had been any thought of that possibility, they would have started the conversion before spring. His value for them and as a trade chip is as an infielder.

McClendon is unhappy with his pitchers and their failure to control the running game. The Mariners gave up four stolen bases in yesterday’s game.

“I don’t think our pitchers have done  a good job and that’s something we are going to address this morning,” he said. “I thought our catchers threw the ball extremely well yesterday. But they really didn’t have a shot. You can’t be 1.6 (seconds) to the plate and expect to get anybody out at second. We’ve got to shore that up a little bit.”

He expects his pitchers to make it a priority with runners on.

“That’s your job as a pitcher,” he said. “You have to do your part in holding runners. It’s just not on the catchers. You see us all out there with stop watches and if a guy is 1. 2 to the plate, you can’t run on him. Because most catchers are going to be 2.0 or less. But if you start getting up in the 1.4 to 1.5 now you can steal a base and it’s not on the catcher, even though most people perceive it to be.”

McClendon wasn’t upset with Fernando Rodney for getting ejected in the game by minor league umpire Adam Hamari

“He was at 13 (pitches) and I really didn’t want him throwing more than 15 to 17 so I just let him go, hoping the umpire kicks him out,” he said.

The game yesterday was a spring training slog fest that went four hours and featured plenty of errors and bad baseball. It wasn’t much fun for anyone to sit through.

“And then I said, ‘I’m going to go out there and try and get myself kicked out so I can get the hell out of here,” McClendon joked. “But that part didn’t work. So I had to sit through that four hour game.’”

McClendon didn’t like Hamari’s strike zone from the beginning and let him know about it.

“I thought he was not very sharp yesterday,” McClendon said. “Maybe that ticked him off a little bit. It was awful tight to say the least.”

That tight zone didn’t do James Paxton any favors.

“I went out in the first inning and said, ‘This guy is a ground ball pitcher, he works down in the zone and you missed about seven pitches in the first inning. What gives?’” McClendon explained. “And he said, ‘Those balls are low,’ and I said, ‘You need to take a better look at them because they aren’t as low as you think they are.’”

Stefen Romero has been laid low by the flu bug that has hit the clubhouse this spring. He will be out a few days. When he returns, he will start taking some ground balls at third base and first base.”

Why?

“As we sit now, and try to make up this club and see what fits and see who compliments who, we need guys who are versatile and be able to do more than one thing on the field,” he said.

Romero can’t play shortstop. And Kyle Seager plays ever day at third base and there’s this guy at second named Cano. Maybe he could see some time at 1B, but that seems slim too.

McClendon said not to expect any straight platoons for the season based on the current personnel. He did say he’d try and play match-ups and other aspects.

“You’d be a fool not to look at the numbers,” he said.

Robinson Cano returns on Tuesday, and will likely play on Wednesday.

Hisashi Iwakuma visits the hand specialist on Tuesday. His splint could come off then.

LINKAGE …

Here’s Bob’s story on Stefen Romero and his hot spring.

Ken Rosenthal has some “inside baseball” with GM Jack Zduriencik talking about the Cano deal and the trade deadline last year.

Dave Schoenfield looks at the injuries to the arms in the AL West.

Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew – both Scott Boras clients – are working out in Florida and waiting for a chance. 

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