Day Two in Arizona – A Taste of “The Show”

Day two in camp was a lot of fun. You know that feeling when you go somewhere for the first time and you have no idea where you are going? Yeah, that was me a lot today. But, when I found where I was going it was an absolute blast.

The Mariners have been incredibly courteous and hospitable.  Have a new found respect for the Media Relations Staff for the Mariners. They have spring training down to a science.

Started the day at 9am over at the minor league fields. Players were spread over 4 fields mainly by class. Those levels really mean nothing right now. Tomorrow, minor league camp will look a lot different with cuts being made from big league camp to get the roster down to 30. The first few voices I heard while walking up were High Desert pitching coach Tom Dettorre and Jim Pankovits. Pank is still managing the Triple-A team, but tomorrow I would imagine Tacoma manager Darren Brown will be down from big league camp.

Some notable things today from minor league camp:

  • Rich Poythress seems to have dropped some weight since last season, plus swing looks improved and more compact
  • Luis Jimenez is still mashing and is the most impressive player I have ever seen take BP
  • Daniel Carroll and Mickey Wiswall were both with the Triple-A group today.
  • The Triple-A team played the White Sox Triple-A team in Glendale and while I do not know the final score, I was told they were beat up pretty good. Lefty John Danks, who more than likely is the opening day starter for the Sox made the start and threw 96 pitches. He did make a  mistake to catcher Ralph Henriquez who took him deep. According to Tribune writer Mark Gonzalez Danks finished with four runs allowed, three earned, in six innings while walking one. Evidently the White Sox prefer not to match MLB starters against teams they will face during the regular season so they sent minor leaguer Eric Stults to face the Mariners in Peoria. Mauricio Robles, Philippe Valiquette, Bobby LaFromboise and Brian Moran pitched for the Triple-A Mariners.
  • Found out that Kenn Kasparek had been released from his minor league contract. He battled injuries, but spent most of last season in Jackson last year.
  • Highlights from Tuesday’s game included 3.0 shutout innings from Erasmo Ramirez in the AAA game…Nick Franklin went 3-for-4 with 2 triples and 4 RBI for Tacoma and Julio Morbon went 5-for-5 with 2 doubles, one triple and 2 RBI for High Desert.

After minor league practice I headed over to the major league stadium and took in the Mariners game with the White Sox. Was able to join Rick Rizzs and Ken Wilson on the Mariners Radio Network today. Got a little taste of the show, and being able to be on the air with those guys was pretty awesome. Can at least check a major league broadcast off my bucket list.

R to L Rick Rizzs, Chris Harris, Ken Wilson and producer Ken Levine.

  • Was able to catch up with former Generals trainer Matt Toth who is now with the major league team. Caught up with a lot of the former Jackson guys in major league camp.
  • Steve Delabar had not seen his special on HBO yet. Oddly enough Delabar’s locker is right next to Tom Wilhelmsen’s. We had a nice conversation about how their should be dual HBO feature combining both their stories and how I could narrate it. Funny stuff.
  • Vinnie Catricala was getting his bags packed to head over to minor league camp. He did not make the 30-man roster heading to Japan. He was obviously disspointed, but understood it is part of the business. Vinnie had another hit in today’s game against the White Sox.
  • Dustin Ackley told me he was more comfortable this year than ever before. Said he finally knows what his roll is and how it will not change as long as he produces.

Everybody was dreading the 14 hour plane ride to Japan.

Major League Rotation is Set:

Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Hector Noesi, Blake Beavan and Kevin Millwood will be the opening day rotation, says Manager Eric Wedge. That leaves Erasmo Ramirez on the outside looking in. But, talking to a few people today, he has impressed this spring and will get a shot. Triple-A broadcaster Mike Curto says Erasmo and Matt Fox will probably open in the Tacoma rotation, leaving only three spots. Not even going to speculate but Oliver Perez might be number three.

Was amazed today at the amount of Japanese media. I guess I expected it, but I would guesstimate there were more Asian media than American media covering today’s game. Was interesting at how one guy will translate quotes in the press box and the rest will listen and record him.

Tomorrow will be a camp day for the minor leaguers which means no game, but in order to get guys innings they will intrasquad. AAA vs. AA, etc. The major league guys head to Japan tomorrow and according to Mariner notes, buses are scheduled to roll from Peoria at noon, with wheels up out of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport at 1 pm…the traveling party is scheduled to arrive at Narita Airport at 6 pm on March 23…Seattle will playa pair of exhibition games against the Hanshin Tigers & Yomiuri Giants, with the records not counting towards Cactus League standings or the regular season…Seattle will then be the visiting team for two games vs. the Oakland A’s in 2012 Japan Opening Series.

Below are some pictures from today’s major league game and then minor league camp photos under it. You can click on each image to make them larger.

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