Mariners Insider

Feb.
24th

Cano says Mariners `look like world champions’ on paper

PEORIA, Ariz. — Robinson Cano reported in Tuesday, as scheduled, and immediately embraced the highest bar of expectations for the Mariners in the upcoming season.

“On paper, we look like world champions,” he proclaimed before adding a qualifier. “Hopefully, we’ll stay healthy. It’s not how we look on paper. We’ve got to go out there and prove it every single day.”

Cano, 32, is comfortable with the loftiest of goals from the nine years spent in New York pinstripes before he signed on last season with the October-starved Mariners.

And it still rankles the Mariners, in his first year, fell

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Feb.
24th

Mariners plan go-slow approach for Bloomquist as full-squad drills open

PEORIA, Ariz. — Well, of course, Willie Bloomquist says he’s “good,” and “ready to go.” That he’s “confident I could play right now” in his recovery from micro-fracture surgery last August on his right knee.

This is Willie Ballgame speaking here, the gamer’s gamer. The can-do kid who still chafes at any suggestion of can’t — even after a career about to enter its 14th big-league season.

So it’s no surprise the Mariners are grading those comments on a curve as their spring camp accelerates Wednesday when full-squad workouts commence at the Peoria Sports Complex.

“I think we all know

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Feb.
24th

Mariners notebook: Club’s potential puts Rodney in a dancing mood

PEORIA, Ariz. — When All-Star closer Fernando Rodney looks around the Mariners’ clubhouse, and contemplates the coming season, he says he can’t help dancing.

“I’m pretty happy with the (off-season) moves that we made,” he said. “Signing (Nelson) Cruz and bringing in a couple of more guys to help to win the division. That’s motivated me. That’s why I’m dancing.”

(Point to note: While smooth on his feet, Rodney admits he’s only the second-best dancer on the club — only second-best in the bullpen, in fact. The best, he insisted, is fellow reliever Tom Wilhelmsen.)

Rodney threw his first spring bullpen

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Feb.
23rd

After a year of rehab, Mariners pitcher Danny Hultzen says, `I’m definitely back to where I was before’

PEORIA, Ariz. — Want to know how good Danny Hultzen is feeling these days in Mariners’ camp after missing most of the last two seasons because of an ailing left shoulder that eventually required major surgery?

Let’s talk college hoops. Ask Hultzen, a Virginia alum, how far his beloved Cavaliers can go this season.

“I think they can win it,” he declared. “When Justin Anderson is back, I think they have a good shot. They can beat Kentucky, for sure.”

For sure? No. 1 and unbeaten Kentucky? OK, there’s some confidence for you…and Hultzen is nearly as upbeat about his

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Feb.
23rd

McClendon says Hernandez `has his own beat’ in preparing for season

PEORIA, Ariz. — That Mariners ace Felix Hernandez hasn’t yet stepped to the mound for a bullpen workout in spring training isn’t new or particularly surprising.

“Felix can do whatever the (heck) he wants to do,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “He has his own beat. He usually doesn’t throw early. I have no concerns because he’s in great shape. I’m really impressed.”

Hernandez took part Monday in PFP (pitchers’ fielding practice) and led his group through such drills as the pitcher-to-first and pitcher-to-third bunt plays.

But he generally spends the first few days just playing catch.

As pitching coach Rick

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Feb.
22nd

Zunino looking right in effort to boost his offensive production

PEORIA, Ariz. — The right way to add punch to his offensive production, Mariners catcher Mike Zunino contends, is, well, the right way.

“I think I just need to totally commit to going to right-center,” Zunino said. That’s been my strength for a while, and I keep my bat in the zone for a longer time.”

This isn’t exactly a revelation.

Zunino said much the same thing on numerous occasions last season when he set a club record for homers by a catcher with 22 despite finishing below the Mendoza Line with a .199 average.

But an off-season of introspection

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Feb.
22nd

Mariners notebook: Elias looking forward to future trips home to Cuba

PEORIA, Ariz. — The thawing relations between the United States and Cuba already has Mariners left-hander Roenis Elias, a 2010 defector, planning a trip back to his homeland to visit his family.

“I’ve got a visa,” he said. “I’m looking to go down there to visit family at the end of December. That’s going to be big to be able to see my father and my grandmother.

“Seeing them is going to give me more motivation to keep doing what I’m doing.”

Elias’ immediate goal this spring is to hold a job in the Mariners’ rotation. One of the camp’s

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Feb.
21st

Mariners camp is under way…here are the top storylines

PEORIA, Ariz. — On Saturday, for the first time in 146 days, the Mariners returned to the field in an official capacity when pitchers and catchers pushed through a morning workout at the Peoria Sports Complex.

The disappointment of last season’s near-miss — falling one game shy of ending what is now a 13-year postseason drought — is receding in the rear-view mirror.

It is the nature of spring training that optimism sprouts unchecked for all clubs and under all circumstances. And why not? If not now, when?

Even so, here it is different.

“I think we shocked some people last year with

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