Mariners Insider

Archives: Feb. 2011

Feb.
28th

James Paxton: Is he an Airhog or star-in-waiting?

The rumor mill is grinding out a potential Seattle Mariners signing of fourth-round 2010 draftee James Paxton, who spent 2010 pitching with the independent league Grand Praire Airhogs.

Paxton was a 2009 Toronto Blue Jays first rounder, a left-handed pitcher they couldn’t sign – a Scott Boras client, not surprisingly – but who was not allowed to return to the University of Kentucky.

Scouts say Paxton has a mid-90s fastball, a good breaking ball and inconsistent changeup, but that he lost valuable time last season because Boras made demands of a) Toronto and then b) Seattle that neither team accepted.

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Feb.
28th

A Game 2 lineup without Mr. Gutierrez

The undefeated Seattle Mariners play their second Cactus League game today at noon (PDT), and they’ll face the dreaded San Diego Padres again – and do it without their Gold Glove center fielder.

Franklin Gutierrez won’t play again today, but manager Eric Wedge said not to worry.

“Franklin missed a couple of days to go to Seattle and we’re just giving him those days back on the practice fields and the batting cages,” Wedge said. “He’ll be in here tomorrow.”

Tesst results from that Seattle visit to doctors to determine the cause of stomach ailments Gutierrez has had since last June

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Feb.
27th

Bedard efficient: how about nine pitches?

The first spring appearance in two years for Erik Bedard took less time – and fewer pitches – than were required for him to warm up today.

The Seattle Mariners lefty shook off emotional cobwebs and worked a 1-2-3 innings against the San Diego Padres, and did it in nine pitches.

“That’s going to be tough to build on,” Bedard deadpanned. “It’s not going to be like that every time.”

Bedard started Seattle’s first spring game intent on building arm strength and was prepared to throw as many as 25 pitches, he said. No need. Throwing fastball and curve for

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Feb.
27th

Jody Gerut retires, for the right reasons

Outfielder Jody Gerut, a 33-year-old who came to camp with the Seattle Mariners with the goal of making the team, retired today – with class, dignity and an articulate thought.

“I can no longer in good conscience play the game in the manner that reflects the positive example for the younger generation of baseball players,” Gerut said.

Think about that. Physically, Gerut was fine – he worked hard, ran hard, played hard in camp drills and an intrasquad game.

But he didn’t feel the passion that fueled his career. And that, for Gerut, was the end.

Baseball, he said, ‘defined

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Feb.
27th

Mariners pitcher Erik Bedard: Version 2.011

Erik Bedard & his magic glove

Erik Bedard is scheduled to pitch an inning today in the charity game between the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres – which would be one inning more than he had all of spring 2010.

What will mean?

For one thing, the issue today isn’t whether Bedard is healthy – he is. Under pitching coach Carl Willis, the lefty hasn’t missed a drill or bullpen session all spring.

Manager Eric Wedge isn’t holding Bedard back, isn’t worrying about his elbow or shoulder, his hip or his attitude. This spring,

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Feb.
27th

Lineup posted for ‘exhibition’ exhibition

Yes, for reasons no one has ever fully understood or explained, the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres kick off their spring with their annual charity game today – a game that the Cactus League says doesn’t count.

So, if Cactus League exhibition games aren’t all that important, what in the world is an exhibition exhibition game? Just how snooty is the Cactus League about this Mariners-Padres affair?

No stats from this game will count in the Cactus League. So there.

The Mariners will somehow overcome the snub, and here’s manager Eric Wedge’s first lineup:

Ichiro RF
Chone Figgins,

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Feb.
26th

Felix throws BP, right on Mariners schedule

The most recognizable faces of the Seattle Mariners – from Icihro Suzuki to Franklin Gutierrez – were in Peoria Stadium on today for the annual Fanfest.

Briefly, so was the the man most fans wanted to see, Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez.

Hernandez signed autographs, then was carted to the practice fields, where he stretched, then threw live batting practice to hitters

Few people knew where to find him, and after throwing he went directly to the clubhouse for ice.

All part of the plan, said pitching coach Carl Willis.

“We’re making him take it slow, and he understands,”

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Feb.
26th

Mr. Gutierrez is back and awaiting answers

Gold Glove centerfielder  returned to camp today and, like the rest of us, is anxiously awaiting test results to determine exactly what’s bothering his stomach.

 

“No answers,” he said of his day in Seattle with team doctors. “I’m waiting for the results to hear what I’ll have to change in my diet.”

Like what?

“Maybe ice cream,” he said.

Gutierrez went for tests mostly as a precaution, when he began to feel – ‘off and on’ – the same stomach discomfort he’d had much of the 2010 season. While the only games he missed because of it were in

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