March 30, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Today is the day spring training finally ends for the Mariners. They are trotting out what looks to be an Opening Day lineup since their mainly right-handed hitting group is in there against the left-handed Jeff Francis.
March 28, 2013 at 6:17 PM
After arriving here on Feb. 5 and covering everything from Jesus Montero and his name showing up in papers from a Miami clinic to Felix Hernandez and his contract extension before camp even opened, to one of the longer spring trainings in memory because of the WBC — with a week-long break in-between — I’m now headed back to Seattle to prepare for the coming season.
The Mariners closed out the Arizona portion of spring training today with a 6-4 win over the Chicago Cubs in Mesa, Ariz. It was the team’s 21st win in Cactus League play, tying their franchise record from 2004.
March 27, 2013 at 4:09 PM
Well, that wraps up another year of spring training at Peoria Stadium, with the Mariners winning their Cactus League home finale 10-7 over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Michael Morse hit his eighth homer this spring, tying Mike Wilson’s franchise mark set back in 2009. Mariners manager Eric Wedge didn’t bother sticking around until the end, getting tossed from the game in the sixth by home plate umpire Seth Buckminster after he came out of the dugout to jaw with the ump. Buckminster had been chirping back and forth with Felix Hernandez and Wedge wasn’t about to let that continue, taking his first ever spring training ejection.
We caught up with Wedge in the clubhouse just before the game ended. Wedge confirmed the entire roster is set, other than the battle for the fifth outfield spot between Jason Bay and Casper Wells. My take? Well, I’d say it’s already been decided in Bay’s favor.
March 27, 2013 at 7:21 AM
Everywhere I go, folks ask the same question. On radio, TV, this blog and on Twitter and Facebook. Is what we’ve seen power-wise from the Mariners this spring legitimate? The Mariners, after that monster home run yesterday over the batter’s eye in dead center by Michael Morse (video above) now have a franchise record 54 home runs in Cactus League play.
And yes, I do think we’re about to see a carry-over to the regular season. No, the Mariners won’t hit 54 home runs the first five weeks of the regular season. But they have a chance to do something no Mariners club has since 1997 back in the Kingdome era.
March 26, 2013 at 4:25 PM
There was no way Mariners manager Eric Wedge was ever going to declare Jeremy Bonderman out of the race for a starting rotation role without talking to him first. But he went about as far as he possibly could after today’s game to indicate — without actually doing so — that he’d like Bonderman to go to Class AAA and prepare himself to possibly rejoin the Mariners later on in the regular season.
Look, you don’t have to have an advanced degree in pitching to see that Bonderman is not ready to pitch in a regular season game next week. He hit the wall in the fifth inning of this 11-6 loss to the Royals in the first Cactus League outing he’s had to go longer than four frames.
March 26, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Jeremy Bonderman has been a pleasant, nonroster surprise for the Mariners this spring. Will it be enough to land a spot in the starting rotation? Probably not. The team can ask him to go to Class AAA and build his arm up a bit more consistently over the next month, then take another look come May.
The question is: will Bonderman want to go to AAA? If not, this could be his final baseball outing.
He faces a stacked Royals lineup, so it should be interesting. Keep an eye on his pitch count. The Mariners want to see him hit at least 90.
To get updates on the action, jump to the turn page…
March 25, 2013 at 4:53 PM
This game stopped being a contest about 7 1/2 innings before it ended in a 16-0 win for the Mariners over the Cincinnati Reds. Jesus Montero hit a grand slam homer, drew a bases loaded walk and also legged out an infield single. That was the 52nd home run hit by the Mariners this spring, setting their all-time Cactus League mark.
Yep, nothing like a good blow to the head.
Anyhow, he’s apparently OK after taking that bat off the noggin’ some 48 hours ago, so we’ll switch our focus to the mound. Brandon Maurer threw five scoreless innings of six-hit ball and took 90 pitches to do it while striking out seven and walking one. He remains very much in this rotation race and really, might have clinched a spot, which I did not think would happen a week ago.
But we’ve since seen the Mariners wave goodbye to Jon Garland and now, they’ve eliminated Erasmo Ramirez from the rotation race as well.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge just all-but-confirmed down on the field that Ramirez won’t begin the year in the rotation.
What it comes down to is, Ramirez didn’t recover so quickly from that two-inning drubbing he took at the hands of the Chicago Cubs last Thursday. The Mariners scratched an ensuing start he was scheduled for and now have pushed him back to a scheduled 50-pitch relief appearance on Wednesday.
“We have to build him back up,” Wedge said. “When we lost that time, we had him up to five or six innings before but it’s been a while. We had him throw a bullpen the other day and we’ll get him back out there.”
But there is no way Ramirez can be built up in time to start the season in the rotation. His pitch count is about half of what it needs to be. I asked Wedge whether he’d consider using Ramirez in the bullpen to start the season.
“I still want to build him up,” Wedge said. “We know he’s capable of piching in the bullpen for us. He did that for us last year as well as starting. But right now, I just want him to go out and pitch healthy. That’s the most improtant thing. My focus is on that right now.”
In other words, expect Ramirez to start the year in Class AAA.
Wedge said the rotation will go Felix Hernandez, Hisashi Iwakuma and Joe Saunders for now, in that order. After that, you have Blake Beavan up to 100 pitches and Maurer at the 90 he threw today.
Jeremy Bonderman is scheduled to start tomorrow, but as I’ve written, the Mariners in a perfect world would likely want to see him keep building consistently for a few more weeks in Class AAA and then call him up later if he’s needed. Bonderman is still feeling his way back from a layoff since 2010.
Unlike Garland, he has no “out” clause to force any decisions and his only leverage would be to retire rather than accept a AAA assignment. So, let’s see how that plays out. The Mariners could have a roster spot free for him when they make the official call on Casper Wells or Jason Bay. But in the event they wind up making a late spring trade, it’s possible they could have somebody coming back who would be on the roster already and that would eliminate the free spot.
Amid this backdrop, you have Maurer looking like he might be headed north after all.
March 25, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Still a 15-0 game as we head to the bottom of the sixth inning. The Mariners have pulled Brandon Maurer after his five scoreless frames. He allowed six hits, struck out seven, walked a batter and lowered his spring ERA to 0.90.
The Mariners pulled him because his pitch count had already reached 90. He’s been sitting quite a while between innings and I imagine they didn’t want to send him back out there for just a partial inning and risk messing with his arm.
3:04 p.m.: Mercy rule time, here, folks. Only the Mariners are showing no mercy to the home team this afternoon. Jesus Montero just put the Mariners up by a couple of touchdowns in the fifth inning, hitting a mammoth grand slam homer to left off Wilkin De La Rosa. We then had Jason Bay double and Casper Wells single to make it a 15-0 game.
About the only worry here is that it’s been an awfully long time since Brandon Maurer took the mound. He’s got to be feeling a bit cold. Let’s see how he does.
2:53 p.m.: Brandon Maurer is through the fourth inning, allowing one more hit, and now has a 10-0 lead after the Mariners pounded and finally chased starter Homer Bailey from the game. Seattle scored four ties in the fourth, starting with the Michael Saunders homer, then a bases-loaded walk drawn by Jesus Montero, an RBI single by Jason Bay and a sacrifice fly by Casper Wells.
Maurer has five strikeouts and has allowed one walk in his four innings thus far.
March 24, 2013 at 4:11 PM
Another day, another pounding of Joe Saunders in this 8-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Saunders says he’s fed up with this long spring training, has never cared about results here and can’t wait to get the regular season started. He had trouble with his mechanics early on in thos one, but eventually righted things and looked a bit better towards the end.
Perhaps of greater importance to the Mariners today was seeing Kameron Loe toss multiple innings for the first time this spring. Loe went two scoreless frames after taking over from Saunders in the sixth, logged three more strikeouts to up his spring total to 15 — over nine innings — and also notched a double-play with two on and one out in the seventh.
“He needs to be able to do that,” Wedge said of the double-play generated by the sinkerballer. “We wanted to stretch hi out to two innings tday, so it was a good day today. There are going to be situations in that type of game, that type of inning, where you need to be able to get two outs with one pitch and he was able to do that today, it was good.”
March 23, 2013 at 5:42 PM
We’ll get to today’s Blake Beavan debacle in a minute, but manager Eric Wedge offered up some interesting news post-game in which he declared he’s preparing to start the year with some type of Michael Saunders and Franklin Gutierrez combination out of the leadoff spot.
Saunders led off today and went 2-for-5 in a 10-5 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
“We’ve been mixing more with Saunders and Gutierrez than anybody else,” Wedge said. “I like them both up there. We haven’t settled into anything, but those are the guys we’re looking at right now. Obviously, with the middle of our lineup being a little bit more solidified, that makes a big difference for us.”
Wedge said he’s thought about going with Saunders as the leadoff guy against right-handed pitchers and having Gutierrez do it versus left-handers. He’s also considering having one guy lead off more consistently against both-handed pitchers, but isn’t sure yet.
“Regardless, I like them both up there, so we’ll be able to make it work,” he said. “We might have to play around with it a little bit, see what the best thing is for our team. But we’ll have some time to do that.”