March 26, 2013 at 9:28 AM
There has been a ton of head-scratching about what’s gone on with Mariners starter Erasmo Ramirez the past two weeks.
Well, I’ve got the full lowdown on it now and it involves both Ramirez and Jon Garland. And no, Ramirez will not be starting the season in the majors. He’s going to Class AAA.
March 25, 2013 at 7:41 PM
These types of things always give me a headache because inevitably, the Mariners do something unexpected, or change their mind, as is entirely their right. But I do realize many of you out there have been following the team and this blog for the past seven weeks of spring training and I figure I owe it to you to take an educated guess as to the Opening Day roster this team will have.
So, without further delay, here I go.
March 25, 2013 at 8:40 AM
While I was on the phone doing my Talkin’ Baseball segment (box below), the Mariners put out their pitching schedule through Wednesday’s game and Erasmo Ramirez is once again scheduled to throw in relief of a starter. Ramirez will enter Wednesday’s game against the Dodgers after Felix Hernandez.
That’s the second straight time Ramirez will be doing this. And as far as him making the rotation to start the year: this second straight bullpen assignment appears to indicate he’s been scratched from that race.
The Mariners could, in theory, stretch Ramirez back out again if they wanted him ready to work the back of the rotation. But they are running out of time to do that down here, meaning he’d have to start the year in Class AAA for that to happen.
Which also begs the question: why have Ramirez throw in relief at all down here if you were planning to use him as a starter?
The simple answer is: you would not.
March 24, 2013 at 8:58 AM
Walking into the Mariners clubhouse this morning, it was tough not to notice Endy Chavez in there. The former starting left fielder with the Mariners in 2009 had just been released by the Royals the other day and was here to ink a minor league deal with the his former Seattle club. Well, he just got looked over by the medical staff and the deal is now official.
“I’m not expecting anything crazy,” Chavez, 35, said. “I know I’ll still start in AAA, but that’s good for me. I’m getting the opportunity to play baseball and I’ll have a good chance to be back in the majors.”
As he says, he’ll start in Class AAA, but that’s not the real big story here.
March 24, 2013 at 8:30 AM
Well, that little issue didn’t last very long. Jesus Montero no longer has an egg-sized welt on his forehead. An ice pack last night took care of that, he says he feels much better this morning and is set to catch some bullpen session later today.
That has to come as a huge relief to the Mariners, who have only Montero and Kelly Shoppach as catchers on their 40-man roster.
In other words, any upcoming, early roster decisions by the team won’t be impacted by Montero getting hit in the head by that bat yesterday.
“I feel good,” Montero said this morning. “Thank God nothing happened. It was a scary moment yesterday.”
March 23, 2013 at 11:56 AM
The book on Mariners relief pitchers Carter Capps and Stephen Pryor used to make for some pretty remedial reading. In fact, you could summarize it all in one chapter — lots of high 90s heat.
But that wasn’t going to take their big league careers very far. You can get away with throwing fastballs — even the 100 mph variety — for only so long before hitters in MLB adjust their swing timing and figure a way to beat you.
So, the priority for both pitchers this spring was to do something about it by honinh and implementing slower secondary pitches. So far, they have.
March 21, 2013 at 10:49 PM
ADDITIONAL NOTE 11:02 p.m.: The Mariners just optioned OF Carlos Peguero to Class AAA and re-assigned right-handed pitcher Carson Smith and infielder Nick Franklin to minor league camp. As we discussed after Smith’s last outing, the Mariners felt he had a great camp, but view him as depth for down the road if somebody gets hurt or needs replacing.
Mariners non-roster invitee Jon Garland didn’t mince words after tonight’s 7-4 loss to the Cubs when asked about his “out” clause and when he expects to hear from the Mariners on whether or not he’s landed a job in their rotation.
“Tomorrow,” he said. “That’s my ‘out’ clause. I’m sure there have been scouts in the stands everytime I’ve thrown. They’re usually out here scouting anyway. So, if they don’t want to keep me here, I’m sure there might be a phone call. And like I said before, if not, I’ll be poolside at the house hanging out.”
Garland feels he’s done all he can to force the team’s hand.
“I think I’ve shown them everything I can,’’ Garland said. “Now the decision’s on them. There are a lot of young arms here who have proven themselves more than worthy. So, it’s going to be a tough decision on them. And there are a lot of factors that go into making a decision to keep me or not. It’s going to be tough on them. They’re going to have to weigh heavy on it and we’ll see what they come up with.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said post-game he plans to meet later tonight or first thing tomorrow with GM Jack Zduriencik to figure out what the next move is.
March 21, 2013 at 2:23 PM
Some of you may have thought Jason Bay leading off was fun. Well, tonight, he’ll be starting in center field for the Mariners. No, Franklin Gutierrez is not playing. Yes, Casper Wells is, but he’s in left. I’m told Gutierrez is not hurt, the Mariners just want to make sure he gets to the regular season healthy. So, he gets a second day in a row off, then will be back in tomorrow night. And the team wants to see Bay in center.
Translation? The Mariners know that if they keep Bay over Wells, they may be in a pickle if Gutierrez gets hurt or sick or whatever, which, well, judge for yourself this spring and…the past four years. So, anyhow, if Gutierrez goes down and there is no Wells, then Michael Saunders is still the only guy who can play center and then you don’t have a fourth outfielder who can play all three positions in a pinch.
That’s where Bay comes in.
He’s played center field before, but not since the 2009 World Baseball Classic for Team Canada. The last time he played it in the majors was with the Pirates back in 2005.
“It’s probably not a long-term position for me out there,” Bay said. “But in a pinch, I could do it.”
March 20, 2013 at 3:12 PM
Jeremy Bonderman is still hoping to land a rotation spot as a non-roster invitee and the Mariners will likely have to make a call on him soon. Bonderman pitched in a minor league game against Kansas City’s affilitates this afternoon, lasting five innings and giving up a run on five hits. He struck out four of the 24 batters he faced and threw 76 pitches.
At this stage, Bonderman, looks like he could use another month or so in Class AAA to round back into the form he showed before leaving baseball after the 2010 season.
March 19, 2013 at 12:51 PM
The Mariners don’t play until tonight, so I headed down to the ballpark today to work on a story and got to take in some of this morning’s minor league intrasquad game. Joe Saunders was the main act in that one, throwing six innings of two-run ball in which he struck out eight batters and walked a pair.
I know some of you are a bit worried by what you’ve seen out of Saunders this spring, but keep in mind, the Arizona air — as we’ve mentioned — makes it difficult for pitchers to get breaking stuff over because the baseball is tougher to grip at times. Not making excuses for Saunders, just saying that spring training can be a tough place to gauge. He looked sharper with his pitches today.
There was a fairly large crowd of spectators, minor leaguers and team executives — including GM Jack Zduriencik — on-hand to watch.
The opposing pitcher Saunders faced was none other than Taijuan Walker, who was sent down to minor league camp by the Mariners just last week. Walker is also the main reason I went to the game, since I plan to write about him for tomorrow’s print edition of the paper. He pitched three innings, struck out five batters and the only run he gave up was on a solo homer by Class A prospect Jabari Blash. Walker’s mother, Nellie Garcia, is spending the month down here with him after spending much of the past year battling Stage 3 breast cancer.