Mariners Insider

Archives: Feb. 2010

Feb.
25th

Finding the language of the young a challenge

Every spring there are ‘babies’ in camp – the kids who’ve risen through the ranks quickly, whose talent is as obvious as the fact that they can’t grow whiskers.

And dealing with them is a challenge for everyone, from managers and coaches to the media. How do you ask a 19-year-old catcher, for instance, about his life story with a straight face?

In the bullpen this week, 22-year-old right-hander Danny Cortes was throwing hard but throwing a little too quickly, all but hyper-ventilating on the mound.

Pitching coach Rick Adair sidled over toward him between pitches and asked “Have you ever tried breathing

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Feb.
24th

Here’s more evidence: Pitchers are strange

It happened so quickly, hardly anyone saw it.

Minutes before the Seattle Mariners stretched Wedneseday, reliever Mark Lowe was on all fours, lifting his legs behind him, getting loose. Teammate Shawn Kelley bent down to grab one of Lowe’s feet – just as Lowe kicked out.

Kelley got a spike in the chin, stayed on his feet, but was bloodied.

 “I couldn’t tell where it was, but my whole jaw hurt and I felt blood,” Kelley said. “I thought, ‘I might look pretty bad.’”

Kelley headed for the training room and his bullpen teammates, being the sensitive types, immediately began

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Feb.
24th

Mr. Lopez at third still a work in progress

To  be fair, Jose Lopez hasn’t had much time to deal with being asked to move from second base to third – and few big league players like moving.

Lopez came up,  remember, as the Seattle Mariners shortstop of the future, and was summarily shoved over to second when it became clear he had limited range. Now, he’s on the move again.

Yes, he’s a bit sensitive. And yes, in drills today he didn’t look like a man who’s heart was in it while taking grounders at third base.

The Mariners understand and will give the experiment, which has Chone

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Feb.
24th

Cliff Lee has presence, on and off a mound

Cliff Lee has yet to throw from the mound this spring – he’ll do that later this morning – but there’s not a pitcher in camp who hasn’t been watching him.

Watching him do what, you ask?

“Everything,” rookie Nick Hill said. “Everything he does has a purpose. Out here, everyone works hard, so it’s not just that. It’s the intensity you see, whether it’s stretching, whatever. ”

Lee, 31, has a 90-52 career record and a Cy Young Award to his credit, and pitchers take notice of such things. Coming off minor foot surgery two weeks ago, Lee has

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Feb.
23rd

Ichiro arrives and feels the love

A year ago, manager Don Wakamatsu said, he watched Ichiro Suzuki report to camp quietly, go to his locker and dress for his first workout.

On Tuesday, Ichiro walked into a crowded Seattle Mariners clubhouse and, as Wakamatsu observed, ‘there were hugs all around.’

Ichiro, it seems, has not only been embraced by his teammates, he’s returned the favor. Before he got to his locker, Mike Sweeney was on him, and then Ken Griffey Jr. demanded his man-hug.

“Ah, George!” Ichiro said during that embrace, calling Griffey by his seldom-used first name.

“I feel very comfortable here this spring,” Ichiro

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Feb.
23rd

Who’s on second? On Day 1, it’s Figgins

The Seattle Mariners preach versatility on their roster, and they’re practicing it in their first full day of workouts – playing Chone Figgins at second base and Jose Lopez at third.

General manager Jack Zduriencik said the new-look infield was something the team had talked about after signing free agent Figgins.

“It’s something we want to look at, so why not sooner rather than later?” Zduriencik said.

Manager Don Wakamatsu talked to Lopez about his playing third, and said nothing is set in the infield yet.

“Jose will take ground balls at second and third, and so will Chone,” Wakamatsu

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Feb.
23rd

Who’s on first? Carp would like to be

Mike Carp dressed in a crowded clubhouse today – there are 63 men in camp – and couldn’t help noticing the number of first baseman putting on a Seattle Mariners uniform.

Carp, 23, had a good season in 2009, batting .271 with 15 home runs, 64 RBI and a .372 on base percentage in 110 games in Tacoma. Given a 21 game late season gig in Seattle, he batted .315 there with a .415 OBP.

“I felt pretty good with my season,”  Carp said.

Then, from home, he watched the Mariners bring in first baseman Casey Kotchman, Ryan Garko and

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Feb.
23rd

Cha Seung Baek returns? It’s a possibility

Cha Seung Baek, the Korean right-hander Seattle first signed 12 years ago, threw well in his tryout – a pleasant surprise for the Mariners and the pitcher.

Looking for a minor league contract, Baek is trying out for a few teams after being released by San Diego last year. Now 29, Baek threw a bullpen session for Seattle on Monday – then took a physical.

Among those watching the workout was Roger Hansen, the Mariners roving minor league catching instructor.

“I was happy for him, because he threw well and he’s a great kid,” Hansen said. “We had him here

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