Mariners Insider

Archives: Feb. 2010

Feb.
28th

Mariners holding their 1-2 starters back a bit

Felix Hernandez has been asked if he’s all right so many times this spring that when a reporter approached him in the Seattle Mariners clubhouse today, he didn’t even wait for a question.

“I’m fine,” he said.

The ace of the staff, the projected opening day starter and the man who worked 239 innings last season, the 23-year-old Hernandez was initially scheduled to throw a bullpen session Sunday. But didn’t.

“He played long toss, instead,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He’ll throw a bullpen on Tuesday. Everything is going well.”

Given two pitchers,  Hernandez and Cliff Lee, capable of winning 20

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Feb.
28th

On a rainy day, a few camp issues

Yes, it’s raining again in Peoria, which is going to cause problems with a full-squad workout, but nothing the Seattle Mariners won’t resolve.

As the team heads into March, there are issues to be resolved that weren’t as obvious two weeks ago:

  • Can Jose Lopez play third base well enough to free Chone Figgins to play third? Clearly, this is an experiment the team will continue into the middle of the exhibition schedule.
  • What will the opening day catching corps look like? Manager Don Wakamatsu made it simple the other day when he said the two best defensive catchers

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Feb.
27th

Wak pitches BP – and the fans chase homers

Beyond the autoraph sessions, the most popular part of Fan Fest in Peoria is when the Seattle Mariners take batting practice – and manager Don Wakamatsu made it all the more impressive.

What did Wakamatsu do? He served up thigh-level, batting-practice heat, and Ichiro Suzuki, Ken Griffey Jr. and Milton Bradley put on a clinic on what do to with that particular pitch.

Ichiro and Junior banged long home runs over the berm in right field. Bradley hit them up the hill beyond the left field wall. And Chone Figgins hit line drives everywhere.

“Figgins has put on a clinic

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Feb.
27th

Set your alarm for Mariners popularity

It’s Fan Fest today in Peoria Stadium, with the Mariners and Padres splitting time in ballpark workouts – and fans are taking it a little too seriously.

Seattle players hit the stadium about 9 a.m. and will sign autographs, then work out. At 6:30 a.m., there was a line of more than 40 people waiting to get into the park.

That seems enthusiastic squared.

Feb.
26th

Dog days of spring aren’t always boring

Lots of new drills in camp today, with infielders and pitchers working on bunt plays, pickoffs and rundowns – and quite a few fans watching through chain link fences.

And of course, there’s the off-the-field entertainment: Infants decked out in Seattle Mariners gear, old geezers wearing Mariners t-shirts from the ’80s, lots of kids hoping for autographs.

Dogs drop in, too. Today there was a golden retriever on campus, a terrier of some kind and Sophie, the wonder-weiner. On a leash held by young Riley Balche of Phoenix, Sophie was clearly the best-dressed pooch of the day.

She had on

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Feb.
26th

The Bone comes into camp – as a salesman

Jay Buhner will work with Seattle Mariners outfielders in a few weeks, but today was here to open the door for a Federal Way company trying to break into the bat market.

Representing the Baden company and their new ax-handled bat – approved by Major League Baseball – the man known as ‘The Bone’  was soon talking baseball, sharing stories and laughter.

By mid-morning, he was sitting in the golf cart driven by general manager Jack Zduriencik, then joined by good friend Ken Griffey Jr.

Combined, Jay and Junior hit more than 700 home runs as Mariners, and only seemed

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Feb.
26th

Mr. Ackley isn’t ready, but he’s not far off

 
Dustin Ackley

Dustin Ackley knows he isn’t fighting for a job on the Seattle Mariners opening day roster –  he’s still trying to figure out just exactly how this second-base gig works.

“I’m playing a new position for the first time and there’s a lot I’m learning involved,” Ackley said Thursday. “I’m trying to learn how my teammates throw to second base – one third baseman’s ball might sail a little, one might cut in – and I have to learn how to take them at second base.

“From Little League through high school and

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Feb.
25th

That first-to-third run? Everyone follow Junior

New conditioning drill after morning stretch, with everyone – pitchers, catchers, position players – told to line up along the first base line, then run hard from first base to third base.

Mike Sweeney stepped forward to lead the charge but was called back by Ken Griffey Jr., who then lit out for third base, setting a quick base as he rounded second and made coach Lee Tinsley jump back.

The drill wasn’t easy. First to third base, walk across the diamond and repeat – three times the team made the run, and each time it was Griffey who led

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