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Topic: casper wells

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February 22, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Mariners lose Cactus League opener 9-3 to Padres

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There wasn’t a whole lot to talk about in this game, other than Hector Noesi giving up six runs total — four earned — and a Jedd Gyorko grand slam in the first inning and Casper Wells hitting a two-run, two-out homer in the bottom of the ninth. The Mariners took a 9-3 loss to the San Diego Padres in front of  5,495 fans at Peoria Stadium on a day things were settled pretty early.

Mariners outfielder Casper Wells connects for a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning of a 9-3 loss.

The good news, I suppose, is how the Mariners pretty much limited the damage after the first inning. The Padres didn’t score again until adding three in the top of the ninth.

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“We got a lot of guys in there today,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “For the most part, they threw the ball well. Hector struggled a little bit early on, he was up a little bit.”

Mariners leave the field after today’s defeat.

Noesi’s location was off for much of his 42-pitch outing, in which he recorded just two outs. An error by Raul Ibanez on a fly ball to left didn’t help Noesi any, but he also couldn’t put batters away when he needed to.

“First time out, the ball wascoming out of hishand good,” Wedge said. “He just cut it off a bit as the inning wore on. When he does that, he just doesn’t have the same life. He was just a little bit off but he said he felt good, so hopefully he can just work off of that and come back strong the next time.”

Noesi will have to. He was already facing a steep, steep climb trying to make this rotation and did not do himself any early favors here.

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Comments | More in Cactus League | Topics: casper wells, eric wedge, hector noesi

February 21, 2013 at 9:01 AM

New infielder Robert Andino gives Mariners flexibility they didn’t have before

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You’ll hear a lot a at this camp about the Jason Bay-Casper Wells battle for the final outfield spot. But in reality, we wouldn’t even be having a battle had the Mariners not gone out and gotten Robert Andino to be their backup infielder. The Mariners acquired Andino via trade with the Baltimore Orioles, sending Trayvon Robinson over in return.

Robinson has already been designated for assignment, taken off the 40-man roster and been re-signed to a minor league contract by Baltimore after nobody claimed him.

Mariners infielder Robert Andino during batting practice this morning in Peoria, AZ.

Meanwhile, Andino remains an integral part of Seattle’s major league plans. You see, he’s the reason the team has chosen to go with only one backup infielder instead of the two they’d usually carry. And that call will enable the team to carry a fifth outfielder after the quartet of Franklin Gutierrez, Michael Saunders, Michael Morse and Raul Ibanez. Hence, the battle between Wells and Bay.

Sound good? I mean, we may only be talking about the 24th and 25th spots here when we discuss backup infielders and fifth outfielders. But every job counts on a roster and a team that’s hit as poorly as the Mariners the past four years needs any fix they can get. And Andino should help add to the Mariners’ offense, both by his own numbers and the ability to allow the team to carry an extra outfielder.

The reason the Mariners can carry only Andino has to do largely with the fact that he’s a natural shortstop who, when healthy, can play the position multiple days in a row without hurting the team. He is also a guy who — up until last year — could actually hit a bit in the backup role. To get a guy who can be a regular shortstop, play the corners and actually hit somewhat like a regular when needed is not all that common. You’ve got backups who can play all kinds of positions for a day or two, maybe. Kyle Seager can fill in at shortstop for a few innings, or maybe a start once in a while. But not several games in a row. Not without stats dropping through the floor.

“Over the years, I’ve learned how to play third and second so I got comfortable with it,” Andino said. “But I’ve been playing shortstop my whole life, so it’s been comfortable for me. So, I’m comfortable at short, second and third. I don’t really have to worry about it.”

Mariners minor league infield coach Chris Woodward is here working with the team in spring training. Woodward played for a decade as both a starting and utility infielder at various positions around the infield — including shortstop — and agreed that a guy like Andino can be a valuable addition to any team.

“Usually, when you play shortstop you can play everywhere else,” Woodward said. “But it’s up to you to go out of your way to get some work in at the various positions, maybe go to the outfield and shag. But yeah, having a backup guy who can play shortstop every day and who can actually hit and do some things with the bat, that’s really important.”

And Andino can play more often than the backups the Mariners have used in their infield lately.

As recently as 2011, Andino actually got 511 plate appearances with the Orioles. He hit .263 with a .670 OPS while playing in 94 games at second base, 30 at shortstop, 22 at third and three in left field.

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Comments | More in spring training | Topics: casper wells, Jason Bay, Munenori Kawasaki

January 31, 2013 at 8:23 AM

What Casper Wells must do to up his stock with the Mariners

Mariners outfielder Casper Wells has some work to do if he’s to convince team he’s more than just a part-time player. Photo Credit: AP

One of the questions that has continued to pop up all winter long as the Mariners keep adding outfielders is “What about Casper Wells?”

Indeed, what about Wells? We’re still less than two years removed from the Doug Fister trade with the Tigers in which Wells arrived in Seattle as possibly the front-liner to the deal. Folks forget how valued Wells once was in Detroit as a prospect, with the idea that he might one day be that team’s everyday center fielder. That ended when the Tigers acquired Austin Jackson from the Yankees, but the point is, Wells was a versatile enough athlete that he was viewed as a potential star at three outfield positions.

That star had faded somewhat as a prospect by the time the Mariners acquired him. But it’s safe to say the Mariners viewed Wells as at least a major league regular in the outfield corners as well as a potential backup in center field. Today, Wells is viewed as a fourth outfielder and one who might not hang on to that role if some additional moves are made.

So, what happened? Better still, how can Wells rehabilitate his image within his own organization?

Not to go all CSI on you, but the forensic examination as to what killed Wells’s reputation won’t take very long. It wouldn’t even fill 15 minutes of an hour-long episode. All the evidence needed is contained in the period of June 28 through Aug. 7, when the Mariners allowed Wells to start in 34 consecutive games.

His results: a .209 batting average, .267 on-base percentage, .381 slugging percentage and .648 OPS with 36 strikeouts and only 8 walks in 151 plate appearances.

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Comments | More in casper wells | Topics: casper wells, doug fister, eric wedge