Spring Training Update, March 18th
Hello from the valley of the sun. The high today was 88 and my face is burning. Sorry, just had to rub it in a bit.
I flew into Phoenix Sunday night from Nashville and since I took the cheap flight on Southwest, I arrived around midnight. After sleeping in a bit Monday morning, I headed over to pick up my credentials and say hello to everyone in the Mariners administrative office.
After a quick walk through the complex it was off to the backfields to watch the AAA team (which I named TaJackson or Jackoma because it is a mix of players that will open the season in either Jackson or Tacoma) took on the Padres AAA team.
One of the many cool things about spring training is the backfields and how there are four games going on at the same time. You sit on metal bleachers and watch some of the best players in the world play on a field with chain link fences. Pretty amazing.
Highlights from the game
The Mariners bunch won the game 6-3 in a 9-inning game.
Danny Hultzen started and was terrific. Hultzen has battled a hip injury this spring, but he showed no signs of discomfort. He tossed 3 scoreless innings, allowing one hit, walking none and striking out 4. One interesting note was that he faced Carlos Quentin in every inning which was his only hit, a single in the third. He was rehabbing a knee injury. Quentin had at-bats in each of the first 5 innings and was 2-for-5 with a homer.
James Paxton and Taijuan Walker charted pitches and said he was constantly 90-94 with the fastball. His curveball had plenty of bite and he used it to fan 2 of his 4 K’s on the day.
Hultzen: 3.0IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 4K
Gillheeney: 2.0IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER, 0BB, 1K
Medina: 1.0IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0K
Snow: 1.0IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 1K
Kohlscheen: 1.0IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 1K
Hensley: 1.0IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 1K
The amazing pitching stat of the day was no walks. That makes every pitching coach smile.
Francisco Martinez led off and was 3-for-3 with a triple and RBI. Martinez has picked up right where he left off in big league camp. His triple was in the right-center gap.
Denny Almonte and Carlton Tanabe homered in the game. Almonte’s HR was from the right side of the plate. Tanabe, a 21 year old kid backed up Brandon Bantz and gunned out a runner at 2b and had the homer in the 8th inning. You can really tell everyone pulls for the kid and his a clubhouse favorite. He seems like an outstanding young man.
The Padres committed 3 errors in the third and poor Jose DePaula had to of thrown 50 pitches as the M’s AAA batted around and scored 5 of their 6 runs.
Leon Landry and James Jones. Enough said. Landry beat out a routine ground ball to second base for an infield single. Jones subbed late and didn’t have a hit but watching them fly around the outfield is something to behold. Could very well be outfield partners in Jackson.
In spring training its always interesting to see what assignments are given for non-players. Usually you have guys that shag fly balls and are bat boys. Today, Taylor Stanton was the bat boy and Brian Moran was the ball boy. Stanton made sure to tell me which one was which.
Cactus League Show
It’s not often I get to sit back and watch a live radio show, so we took the opportunity to catch some former Jackson guys being interviewed by Rick Rizzs, Shannon Drayer and Aaron Goldsmith. The show was live at the Salty Senorita which is right beside the complex. Former Jackson guys, Dustin Ackley, Kyle Seager, Nick Franklin and Brad Miller.
Miller was probably the most talked about player hitter today when I was asked about Jackson guys. He had a triple today in the big league game against Oakland and is becoming hard to keep off the field.
Quote of the Day
Once the AAA game ended I walked over to the AA field to check out the final inning. As I walked up there was a 3-run home run hit. I asked one of the pitchers charting who that was, he replied: “I don’t know, some Latin guy” So you know it’s not only fans and media confused on who that 3rd number 12 is on your 146 player roster. After some research it was Abraham Almonte. Mystery solved.
What’s on tap
Tomorrow the minor league side have what is called a camp day. Low-A will intrasquad High-A while AAA will intersquad AA. Taijuan Walker and James Paxton are expected to throw tomorrow back-to-back for the AAA squad.
The big league club will play their first night game of the spring schedule taking on the Giants at the stadium. 2013 Southern League Pitcher of the Year Brandon Maurer will start for the Mariners opposite Barry Zito for San Francisco. Maurer has been nothing short of phenomenal this spring posting a 2-1 record and a 0.90 ERA in 4 games.