First things first, I will likely be absent from the blog till Saturday. Way back over a year ago, when I was still doing the Husky beat, I committed to being in a good friend’s wedding in Cancun (rough, huh?) so I will be there for the next four and half days. Not sure what the internet status is there. But we brought in relief help. Todd Dybas, our current Husky writer, arrived in Peoria on Sunday night. Besides covering UW this week, he will be at the Mariners complex to cover for me. Todd is going to help me out with baseball this year, and has covered the Mariners plenty for AP.
Before we get to the links, a few quick notes …
Both Jon Garland and Jeremy Bonderman threw their bullpen session of the spring on Sunday.
“We wanted to give them three, Wedge said. “We’ll do the same thing tomorrow with Saunders, Iwakuma and Nunez, because he got here a little late. Some of these guys we’re just giving an extra bullpen.”
The extra session for Bonderman and Garland was to help combat not throwing all last season.
“That’s just because of their recent history,” Wedge said. ” They didn’t do much last year really. With Felix and Saunders and Kuma, we’re just kind of slow-playing them a little.”
So how did they look?
“They looked really good again,” Wedge said. ”They’ve been impressive early on.”
Felix Hernandez has yet to throw off the mound yet. But it sounds like he will throw a bullpen session on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Mariners will start live BP sessions today with pitchers throwing off the mound to hitters. Some hitters will get in and take their hacks and some will get in and “track” pitches out of the pitcher’s hands to get their batting eye ready.
“It’s up to them,” he said. “I think you can do a little bit both. I think tracking is a big part of it, but there’s nothing wrong with taking a couple swings either. Some guys like to take a few hacks, others just like to track.”
A lot of younger players will take hacks in an effort to catch the manager’s eye.
Here’s my story in today’s paper on Dustin Ackley … one quick note: Besides the ankle injury Ackley dealt with last season, Wedge admitted that Ackley tweaked his hamstring and battled it for a while during the season as well. The media wasn’t told for competitive reasons.
Ackley was very honest about his struggles and wouldn’t use the ankle as an excuse for his struggles.
From my story …
The left-hander hit .226 (137-for-607) with 22 doubles, 12 homers and 50 RBI. Perhaps more telling, he struck out 124 times while posting a .294 on-base percentage and a .328 slugging percentage.
“That was really the only season I’ve ever hit that low,” Ackley said. “That’s a tough road. You always expect to do well and … expect good things from yourself. And to not do that is pretty tough.”
The frustration, the struggle, the grind were all emotionally draining. But rarely would Ackley break his even temperament on the field.
“There was a bunch of times I wanted to boil over,” Ackley said. “I don’t think you really can. You have to stay within yourself, keep playing games, stay day-to-day with everything. If it was football and I had a week to think about it, I probably would have boiled over a little bit.”
During his struggles last season, Ackley never uttered a word to the public about the searing pain in his ankle.
“I never really thought it was an excuse because I could play on it,” he said. “There’s probably tons of guys out there that have nagging things but never talk about it. If it was something that was preventing me from playing or something that was really hurting that I thought was affecting my game, I would have said something.”
Over in Tempe, Angels phenom Mike Trout tries to dispel some of the fervor over his weight gain. Anybody who thinks Trout got fat in the offseason is severely misinformed. The speedy Peter Bourjos is trying to find a role and some consistency.
My buddy John Hickey has this story on Yoenis Cespedes learning from his first season.
Adam Jones was being Adam Jones by giving a teammate 1,700 mini donuts.