Mariners Insider

Mariners spring surprises, disappointments

Post by Larry Larue / The News Tribune on March 29, 2011 at 11:19 am with 10 Comments »
March 29, 2011 11:19 am
Milton Bradley: Release this!

The Seattle Mariners are breaking out of a spring training camp that began six weeks ago and produced a 25-man roster today.

Along the way, there were pleasent surprises and disappointments, long shots made and promise shown.

Promises made? Dustin Ackley showed no major league pitching overwhelmed him, and that some time this season the Mariners can expect him to become a line-drive-hitting second baseman.

Disappointments? Hard-throwing rookie Dan Cortes couldn’t harness his fastball, and velocity without command ruined his chances of returning to the Seattle bullpen.

Pleasent surprises? Did anyone really think Erik Bedard would sail through camp pitching well and staying completely healthy? Probably not, but he has. And then there’s Class A invitee Tom Wilhelmsen, who’s personal journey to the big leagues is a television movie in the making.

Longest shot in camp: Not Wilhelmsen, but veteran outfielder Milton Bradley. Most fans wanted him released before spring training began and much of the media said he should be dumped before on-or-off-field disasters enveloped the clubhouse. Six weeks later, Bradley is the opening day No. 3 hitter in Seattle’s lineup – a complete professional on and off the field.

Biggest disappointment: Gold Glove center fielder Franklin Gutierrez could never stay or get healthy, limited to nine spring games by a stomach ailment that forced him to miss the final series of the 2010 season. He’ll open on the disabled list and, worse, neither he nor the team has yet determined what’s causing the problem.

Didn’t see that coming move: Eric Wedge moving Jack Wilson to second base and Brendan Ryan to shortstop. And then two utility infielders – Adam Kennedy and Luis Rodriguez – each making the 25-man roster. Yikes!

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. SandlotSam says:

    It’s been marvelous to watch and read about Bedard and Bradley this spring. It’s been a double-dose of nothing but sunshine. Some people are still predicting gloom and doom for both of them, but I think the baseball gods are going to shine on both of them this season.

  2. VisitingFan says:

    Did anyone really think Erik Bedard would sail through camp pitching well and staying completely healthy?

    The good command is a tad surprising but besides that, to me neither one of the possible outcomes is a shock. It would have been easy to be ineffective or endure another setback because he is still recovering from serious injury. But on the opposite end, he did show in the misguided/harebrained attempt to come back last year when he was not as strong, that he didn’t lose stuff. Even after the surgery to shave off bone (which I wonder why it wasn’t done at the time of the repair), his arm should be in much better shape just from being removed another year from the original surgery.

    He can remain productive and relatively healthy if the Mariners manage the recovery well. Limited innings, limited pitch counts and extra rest — which I would like to hear the Mariners explain how they are going to provide when a rookie is the number five. How are they going to manage giving extra rest to both Erik and Mr. Pineda? They might as well have slotted Erik 1-3 for the little good being in the fourth slot will do him.

  3. stevenrey says:

    I hear that Tom Wilhelmsen is a movie in the making but I must have missed his story somewhere. Is there a link to him somewhere?

  4. I spent a couple weeks in Phoenix and was impressed by Alex Liddi who can hit the ball a mile and has an arm like a cannon. Steve Baron a very solid backstop who might be the man in two years.

  5. Franklin’s stomach problems stem from one thing and one thing only – Playing for Seattle. Trade him for a dozen bobbleheads and he will be healthy in a week.

  6. BigSwingingRichard says:

    My prediction: Milton Bradley will emotionally implode again.

    The fuse is always lit with this guy, the only question is how fast it burns and how long it is.

    Mr. Nitro (Wedge) meet Mr. Glyserine (Bradley). There will be fireworks, the only question is when.

    I doubt they can make it to May 1 without a blow-up.

  7. Larry Larue says:

    steven – plenty of good stories on wilhelmsen out there, and i wrote a longer one the first few days of camp. here’s a link to a more recent piece by greg johns …..

  8. WTraveler says:

    It is much too ealry to declare the Bedard come back a comeback. We’ll let you know if and when he makes it through a season without having been on the DL
    Further, declaring M. Bradley’s spring a success because there has not been an implosian and therefor bright days are ahead, is like Hussein saying the world would see the mother of all battle if the US invaded Iraq the first time. There is absolutely no evidence that Bradley will make it through the season without a blow up. Wait until there is more pressure…

  9. tcronk says:
    March 30, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Franklin’s stomach problems stem from one thing and one thing only – Playing for Seattle. Trade him for a dozen bobbleheads and he will be healthy in a week.


  10. BigSwingingRichard says:
    March 30, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    My prediction: Milton Bradley will emotionally implode again.

    Unfortunately, I suspect you’re 100% correct.

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