Day 11 / Wednesday, February 22, 2012 / 35 Days ‘til Opening Night in Tokyo (March 28 vs. Oakland) / 51 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle (April 13 vs. Oakland)
Today’s workout started with temperatures hovering around 53° and climbed to near 70° as practice ended. The next few days are supposed to heat up, with high temperatures expected in the 80’s.
The workout was almost a carbon-copy of Day 10. Today’s workout consisted of baserunning on Field 6 from 9:45-10:05. A couple of the players had to be cautious when rounding third base and when they approached home plate due to the field still being a little damp. The team fundamental today was working on pop-ups and infield/outfield communication on Field 3. A group of 16 pitchers threw live BP today on Fields 3, 4 & 5, including Kevin Millwood, Brandon League, Hector Noesi and Hisashi Iwakuma. Mike Carp again put on a hitting display in batting practice and live BP against RHP Scott Patterson.
Quotes of the Day:
“They kind of knocked heads there, but if you are going to have two guys knock heads, those are two pretty good ones” manager Eric Wedge when asked about the pop-up drill when Miguel Olivo and Justin Smoak collided near home plate.
“Cheater” from a group of pitchers to Charlie Furbush as he broke towards first base during PFP drills, but AAA pitching coach Dwight Bernard hit one right back to the mound.
“Polar Bear was trying to get me” from Brandon League as he was almost hit by a high pop fly from the pitching machine during pop-up communications drills.
“Heads up, heavy hitters coming through” from Brendan Ryan to manager Eric Wedge as he led his hitting group consisting of himself, Munenori Kawasaki, Chone Figgins and Dustin Ackley onto Field 3 for live BP.
Outfielder Carlos Peguero celebrated his 25th birthday today.
Tweet of the Day:
— David aardsma (@TheDA53) February 22, 2012
Mark it Down:
The first of four Intrasquad games will be held Friday (Feb. 24) at 12:45 p.m. The game is scheduled to be 8 innings, with Jason Vargas and Danny Hultzen scheduled to be the starting pitchers. A “B” game has also been added to the Cactus League schedule for March 5 at Cincinnati. The “B” games do not count towards the Cactus League records and are designed to get players extra at-bats or additional pitchers innings. Here is an updated listing of recent schedule changes:
|Feb. 24 – 12:45 pm|
|Feb. 26 – 12:45 pm|
|Feb. 28 – 12:45 pm|
|Feb. 29 – TBA|
|March 5 at Cincinnati – 10 am|
|March 8 at Colorado – 10 am|
|Cactus League Game Addition:|
|March 16 vs. Milwaukee (at Tucson) – Split Squad – 1 pm|
Lights, Camera, Action:
The Mariners Marketing crew began shooting the 2012 edition of their award-winning commercials this afternoon. Not going to play the spoiler role, but over the next three days the marketing crew, along with Copacino+Fujikado & Blue Goose Productions will shoot five commercials, featuring 14 players (Felix Hernandez, Ichiro, Brendan Ryan, Justin Smoak, Franklin Gutierrez, Miguel Olivo, Casper Wells, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Jason Vargas, Brandon League, Jesus Montero, Chone Figgins) and manager Eric Wedge. There may even be a Larry Bernandez sighting! Each year the marketing crew puts together some of the best (and funniest) commercials in all of baseball. The 2011 commercials won an award at the 2011 ProMaxBDA Sports Media Marketing Summit.
Don Carson, the President of Don & Charlie’s restaurant in Scottsdale, and a must-see destination during spring training visited camp this morning…Mariners team photographer Ben Van Houten also arrived in camp to shoot pictures for the commercials and for the publications you will see throughout the season…reporter Shannon Drayer of 710 ESPN Seattle arrived for her first day in camp and will be with the squad throughout the remainder of spring training and in Japan…you can follow her Mariners Blog and her twitter feed for some great information…representatives from Wilson Baseball Gloves had all their mitts lined up for players to look at and order for the upcoming season…the Topps Baseball Card Company also had a representative in the clubhouse talking about upcoming baseball cards…there was again an national media presence in camp with Jorge Arangure (ESPN.com), Bob Nightengale (USA Today) and Dave Sheinin (The Washington Post) covering the Mariners.
Shortstop Brendan Ryan threw on the side for about 5 minutes at 60 feet. Ryan has been sidelined by a sore elbow…Franklin Gutierrez and Trayvon Robinson were limited in practice with hamstring tightness…former Mariner closer David Aardsma, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees.
Day 4 / Wednesday, February 15, 2012 / 41 Days ‘til Opening Night in Tokyo / 57 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle
Weather: The weather was a little chilly again today but warmed up by the end of the workout. A high of 65-degrees is expected later today and it is supposed to be 70-degrees tomorrow.
Quote of the Day: “Guante. Guante! That’s my word for the day. Guante! Guante!” – Brendan Ryan, on his way off the practice field cradling his new glove in his arms. Guante is the Spanish word for glove.
The Day: While it might feel like groundhog day here during the early part of Spring Training, you can always find, see or hear something new and today was no exception. There was a lot of energy on Field 3 as the pitchers and some infielders (not all first baseman) worked on covering first base on a ball hit to the first baseman.
Infielder Munenori Kawasaki was very vocal on the field, shouting out commands in both English and Japanese to pitchers covering first base. He could also be seen patting a pitcher on the back for a job well done and generally providing energy for the team, much like Brendan Ryan does.
Kawasaki played on Team Japan in the 2009 World Baseball Classic tournament, and while there were several stars on that team that included Ichiro, Hisashi Iwakuma and Yu Darvish, people say that Kawasaki was the “heart and soul” of the team.
Inside the clubhouse, there were plenty of laughs around Felix Hernandez‘s locker. Turns out the Mariners TV commercial scripts arrived today and Brendan Ryan was sitting at Felix’s locker, reading the script aloud as various players including Felix, Dustin Ackley and Brandon League couldn’t stop laughing.
The Mariners marketing crew will arrive in Peoria tomorrow and will begin preparations for all their commercial and in-game entertainment shoots.
Day 2 / Monday, February 13, 2012 / 43 Days ‘til Opening Night in Tokyo / 59 Days ‘til Opening Night in Seattle
Weather: Sunny skies with temperatures in the low to mid-60 during workouts this morning. Temperatures are continuing to warm up through the afternoon, but rain may be in the forecast for tomorrow.
Quote of the Day: Shortstop Munenori Kawasaki introducing himself to teammates, staff and media: “I am Munenori Kawasaki. Kawasaki…VROOM VROOM.” Kawasaki signed a Minor League contract with the Mariners in January and is excited to be in camp.
The Day: Pitchers and catchers were on field for the second day of camp. After day one and figuring out which field to be on and at what time, day two went smoothly with everyone getting where they needed to be on time.
Sixteen pitchers had bullpens today after 18 did yesterday, including RH Hisashi Iwakumi, RH Hector Noesi, RH Brandon League and RH Kevin Millwood. General Manager Jack Zduriencik and Manager Eric Wedge have been impressed early with the pitchers in camp.
Pitchers continued working on PFP (Pitchers Fielding Practice) drills, including fielding a bunt and covering first on a ball hit to the right side of the infield. Infielders Mike Carp, Kyle Seager and Nick Franklin stood in as first baseman for the pitchers on one of the fields. Catchers also worked on controlling the running game and throwing out runners at second base.
The catchers wrapped up the day split into two hitting groups. While working on hitting to all sides of the field, Jesus Sucre hit a screaming line drive up the middle and nearly took out coach Nasusel Cabrera gathering balls in shallow center field. Cabrera had to jump out of the way and used a ball bucket to deflect the ball. The rest of the coaching staff laughed and continued to give Cabrera a hard time until BP was over. Jesus Montero, Miguel Olivo and Adam Moore each hit multiple home runs into the parking lot.
It has been a busy day in Mariners land this morning. There was the announcement with Dan Wilson and Randy Johnson being inducted into the Mariners Hall of Fame this morning, the following news about three players avoiding arbitration, and of course talk of all the snow that is in the forecast for the Puget Sound region.
The latest bit of news was that closer Brandon League, starting pitcher Jason Vargas and relief pitcher Shawn Kelley all agreed to one-year contracts for the 2012 season, avoiding the arbitration process. What is arbitration you ask? Here is one of the best definitions that we have come across:
A player with less than 6 years of Major League service time is eligible for salary arbitration if he:
- is without a contract for the next season, AND
- has been tendered a contract offer by his current team by the tender deadline, AND
- cannot agree with his current team on a new contract, AND
- meets one of the conditions below:
- has been on a major league roster or disabled list for at least three years, OR
- has at least two years of major league service but less than three, AND is among the top 17 percent for cumulative playing time in the majors in this class of players, AND was on an active major-league roster for at least 86 days in the previous season.
What this basically means, is that the services of League, Vargas and Kelley are secured for the 2012 season. All three pitchers will be key contributors for the Mariners in 2012. More information on the three players is available in the official news release:
MARINERS AGREE TO TERMS WITH BRANDON LEAGUE, SHAWN KELLEY, JASON VARGAS
Mariners agree to one-year contracts on all three players avoiding arbitration.
SEATTLE, Wash. (Jan. 17, 2012) — Seattle Mariners Executive Vice President & General Manager of Baseball Operations Jack Zduriencik today announced that the club has agreed to terms with right-handed pitchers Brandon League and Shawn Kelley, and left-handed pitcher Jason Vargas on one-year contracts for the 2012 season. Per club policy, terms of the contracts were not disclosed.
By agreeing to terms with the three players, the Mariners have no remaining arbitration-eligible players.
League, 28, ranked 3rd in the American League last season posting 37 saves and was selected to play in his first All-Star Game. He went 1-5 with a 2.79 ERA (19 ER, 61.1 IP) in a team-high 65 appearances. His 37 saves were 4th-most in single-season club history, and his save percentage (88.1%, 37-for-42) was 6th-highest.
In two seasons with the Mariners, League is 10-12 with a 3.14 ERA (49 ER, 140.1 IP) and 43 saves in 135 appearances. His 135 appearances over the last two seasons are tied for 7th-most in the American League.
In eight Major League seasons with the Blue Jays (2004-09) and Mariners (2010-11), League has compiled a 17-22 record with a 3.70 ERA (141 ER, 342.2 IP) in 303 relief appearances. He was acquired from Toronto on Dec. 23, 2009 along with minor league outfielder Johermyn Chavez in exchange for right-handed pitcher Brandon Morrow. The Blue Jays originally selected him in the 2nd round (59th overall) out of Hawai’i’s St. Louis High School in 2001.
Vargas, 28, went 10-13 with a 4.25 ERA (95 ER, 201.0 IP) in 32 starts in 2011. The lefty set career highs in strikeouts (131), wins (10), innings (201.0) and starts (32). He ranked tied for 3rd in the AL with three shutouts and was tied for 4th with 4 complete games.
In three seasons with the Mariners, Vargas is 22-31 with a 4.19 ERA (226 ER, 485.1 IP) in 86 appearances (77 starts). He was acquired from the New York Mets as part of a 12-player trade also involving the Cleveland Indians on Dec. 10, 2008. He was originally selected by the Florida Marlins in the 2nd round (68th overall) in the 2004 June draft out of Long Beach State University.
Kelley, 27, saw limited action last season after coming back from partial Tommy John surgery performed on Sept. 1, 2010. In 10 Major League games, Kelley did not allow a run and scattered 7 hits in 12.2 innings. In 15 minor league appearances with AA Jackson and AAA Tacoma, Kelley went 1-1 with a 1.53 ERA (3 ER, 17.2 IP).
Originally selected in the 13th round of the 2006 June draft, Kelley made his Major League debut in 2009. In three seasons with the Mariners he has appeared in 73 games (all in relief), recording an 8-5 record with a 3.66 ERA (34 ER, 83.2 IP).