So there are a few news items …
Taijuan Walker and Stephen Pryor are both scheduled to pitch in minor league games on Saturday at the Mariners’ complex. Not sure what time.
Hisashi Iwakuma will throw a tennis ball today. There are about 20 members of the Japanese media here to cover it. But there is a chance we won’t get to see it. If we do, I will get some video.
“I’m happy he’s out and active again, but this is going to take a little while,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “It’s not going to happen overnight.”
McClendon was asked if Abraham Almonte was his lead-off hitter.
“Down here he has been,” McClendon said. “But we’re still tinkering with our line-up. I told you guys you’ll see other guys leading off. You’ll someone else leading off at one of our games tomorrow.”
What does he want to see from Almonte going forward?
“I like what I’ve seen,” he said. “Obviously, he hasn’t gotten the positive results that equates to having a successful spring training so to speak. He’s done some nice things. He’s hit the ball on the barrel for the most part. He’s made solid contact. We all saw what his speed can do yesterday.”
With opening day nearing, McClendon admitted that these last starts from his pitchers will be important as far as determining their chances to make the rotation.
“They are important and I think those guys understand what’s on the line,” he said.
Fernando Rodney will throw in a minor league game in the next few days where he will throw two innings. He will also go back to back outings in Cactus League play next week.
Corey Hart, Willie Bloomquist and a few other players will play in some minor league games next week to get seven or eight at-bats on a day.
The Mariners have added a quality control coach in Chris Prieto to the major league coaching staff. Prieto, who managed Rookie League Pulaski last season, was slated to manage Class A Clinton.
“He will coordinate our statistical analysis department, and he will be the liaison between that department and our coaching staff, making sure our scouting reports are right on and have the things that we want and the things that we need and elinimate the things that we don’t need. He will be in charge of defense and how we position. He’ll do in depth scouting on how we position players as we move forward during the season.”
Prieto will also throw some batting practice, hit ground balls and travel with the team. He will be in uniform pregame but not in uniform during the game.
“I think it’s a good idea,” McClendon said. “I think it’s something most clubs are moving toward to give us that eye in the sky so to speak. It’s a little different perspective. It gives the ability to not only scout other teams, but also scout ourselves. If there’s something we need to do different or if there is a weakness we need to shore up.”
McClendon and general manager Jack Zduriencik discussed this position in the offseason, but didn’t have time to do the interviews and make the hire till now.
“We interviewed several people and I was really excited about Chris,” McClendon said. “He’s a fine young man. And I think he’s going to fit in nicely with the mix on this coaching staff.”
Here’s the notebook Bob and I combined on for today’s paper.
Paul White of USA Today has his camp confidential series focusing on the Mariners and the trade rumors.
Experts built an algorithm to measure clubhouse chemistry. I wonder if Erik Bedard is factored into that equation.