Mariners Insider

Archives: Feb. 2015

Feb.
28th

Iwakuma sees correlation between strong spring and a strong season

PEORIA, Ariz. — Hisashi Iwakuma is, as the calendar turns to March, already three bullpen workouts ahead of last season and the payoff, he believes, will come in September.

And just maybe, October.

Iwakuma said he ran out of steam last season in the closing weeks, when the Mariners needed him the most, and he blames his collapse on missing all of spring training because of an injured finger.

“I don’t think my finger affected me, performance-wise,” he said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. “It was just fatigue in general. Missing spring training, I think that affected me, especially at the end.”

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Feb.
28th

Mariners notebook: Ackley anxiously awaiting arrival of wife and new son

PEORIA, Ariz. — These days, it isn’t just during the Mariners’ workouts that Dustin Ackley finds himself in left field. Grasping for details and updates on his new son amounts to virtual round-the-clock isolation.

“I’m always waiting for pictures or video and phone calls,” he said. “Not being there and not knowing what’s going on…if I call and miss them, it’s like, `Is something going on? What’s happening right now?’

“Anytime, I’m not hearing stuff…you always expect the worst.”

Actually, everything is going fine after a harrowing ordeal.

Ackley and his wife, Justine, were en route to Peoria (with two

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Feb.
27th

Hicks is likely Tacoma-bound but gaining attention on Mariners’ radar

PEORIA, Ariz. — John Hicks is finally gaining some attention, after four professional seasons with the Mariners, for being more than the guy who caught Danny Hultzen in college.

Or as that guy who once played on the same select team in high school as then-infielder Russell Wilson.

Hicks, 25, showed sufficient potential last season for the Mariners to find space for him in November on their 40-man roster spot to keep him away from other clubs in the Rule 5 Draft.

“He was repeating Double-A,” farm director Chris Gwynn said, “and his issues were balance at the plate. Somehow,

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Feb.
27th

Mariners notebook: Club not looking for a Beimel-type as Beimel’s replacement

PEORIA, Ariz. — As the Mariners search for Joe Beimel’s replacement in their bullpen, they aren’t looking for a Beimel-type guy.

“I’m not looking for a left-handed specialist,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I would like to have a guy who is complete, who is able to throw multiple innings. Get both left-handers and right-handers out.”

Charlie Furbush, in part, already fills the need for a lefty specialist — a loogy (lefty one out guy) in the game’s parlance. He worked just 42 1/3 innings last season in 67 appearances.

McClendon used Beimel, 37, in a similar manner: 45 innings in

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Feb.
26th

Mariners gambling that Morrison can stay healthy…and productive

PEORIA, Ariz. — There might be no bigger gamble by the Mariners in putting together their roster over the winter than in projecting and relying on a healthy season from first baseman Logan Morrison.

Barring a career renaissance by Jesus Montero — which, OK, no longer requires the same level of suspending disbelief — the Mariners don’t appear to have a viable full-time alternative.

Veteran utilityman Willie Bloomquist, if healthy, projects as Morrison’s primary backup. Manager Lloyd McClendon talks of finding a few spring reps for Rickie Weeks, although Weeks doesn’t own a first-baseman’s glove.

Left fielder Dustin Ackley was a first

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Feb.
26th

Mariners notebook: McClendon says roster has room for Miller or Taylor — but probably not both

PEORIA, Ariz. — Brad Miller or Chris Taylor at shortstop? Who you got? The biggest positional battle this spring in the Mariners’ camp shapes up as an either/or proposition.

“If we don’t have injuries,” manager Lloyd McClendon acknowledged prior to Thursday’s workout, “I doubt if we can take them both.”

McClendon’s words confirmed what many already suspected after off-season acquisitions reshaped the club’s roster by bolstering depth.

Veterans Willie Bloomquist (who appears healthy) and Rickie Weeks fill the need for backup infielders, while trades to acquire Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano effectively ended thoughts of shifting Miller to outfield

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Feb.
25th

Batman Cruz unfazed by possible Safeco effect on his power

PEORIA, Ariz. — Nelson Cruz donned a Batman T-shirt Wednesday after completing his first official workout as a Mariner. This isn’t Fellini. The message is easily grasped.

The Mariners are doling out $57 million to Cruz over the next four years because he can hit: He led the majors last season with 40 homers while playing at Baltimore and finished with a .525 slugging percentage.

Point to note: Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager led the Mariners last season with a .454 slugging percentage. Current plans call for them to bracket Cruz in this year’s lineup.

And while, yes, Oriole Park

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Feb.
25th

Mariners notebook: McClendon says Weeks will work primarily in left field

PEORIA, Ariz. — Are the Mariners already heading toward a platoon set-up in left field with Dustin Ackley and converted second baseman Rickie Weeks?

Manager Lloyd McClendon seemed to suggest that’s the plan Wednesday before the Mariners took part in their first full-squad workout at the Peoria Sports Complex.

First, McClendon revealed his intention to have Weeks spend most of his outfield time this spring in left field. (Weeks is also expected to draw some time in the infield at first, second and third.)

McClendon then dismissed the suggestion that signing Weeks represented the club sending a message to

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