Day three was a bit different. Spent the majority of the day on the minor league side for “Camp Day” which means the minor league teams do not play other teams, but intrasquad with each other. The AAA played AA and High A played Low A.
The major league guys trickled in throughout the morning. The three-bus caravan of Mariners and staff left for the airport around 12:15pm. Each Mariner player was allowed to bring one guest on the team flight. Kevin Millwood did not make the trip because he is not scheduled to pitch in any of the games. As you see below, today he tossed a bullpen session around the minor league pitchers on a back field. The whole Japan trip is very confusing. The M’s trimmed their roster to 30 , but only 25 can be eligible for the two regular season games with the Athletics. When they return to Peoria, after reassigning or optioning guys to minor league camp, they can bring them back to play the final five Cactus League games. Told you it was confusing. The Japan trip has made things a bit more chaotic than usual I’ve heard from several people.
As there were more cuts today I always think of the movie Major League, when Ricky Vaughn said that “you have died and gone to the minors”. While it is not that bad, it is a lot different. Guys like Vinnie Catricala, Jesus Sucre and Mike Wilson had the day off and will join minor league camp Friday. Adam Moore caught Millwood’s bullpen session and looked to not be affected by the wrist injury. Below are the intrasquad lineups.
- CF Brandon Haveman
- SS Bradley Miller
- 2B Shaver Hansen
- DH Leury Bonilla
- LF Joe Dunigan
- 1B Rich Poythress
- C Brandon Bantz
- 3B Mario Martinex
- RF Michael McGee
Starting Pitcher: LHP James Paxton
- CF Trayvon Robinson
- SS Nick Franklin
- 3B Francisco Martinez
- LF Johermyn Chavez
- RF Chih-Hsien Chiang
- C Wang Wei (who I later found out hit the first ever home run in the World Baseball Classic)
- DH Luis Jimenez
- 1B Johan Limonta
- 2B Eric Campbell
Starting Pitcher: RHP Forrest Snow
Jackson won the scheduled 11-inning intrasquad 4-3 and here are some of the highlights.This game was played at Field 3, which as you see in the picture below is nothing more than a well manicured city league field.
- James Paxton started the game for Jackson and went 4 innings. He allowed a run on 4 hits, while striking out 6 and walking just 1. Paxton lived around the 92-95 mark and his curve ball was pretty devastating. He struck out the side in the 4th, including a curve ball strike three to Chih-Hsien Chiang that had him bailing out.
- Forrest Snow allowed 3 runs in 4 innings of work, but by my count only 1 was earned. Johermyn Chavez dropped a fly ball that allowed a run to score and an errant throw by Eric Campbell plated another.
- Danny Hultzen was shaky in his first inning, allowed a double to Nick Franklin and then a 2-run home run to Francisco Martinez. Martinez had a pair of knocks in the game and so did Franklin. Hultzen settled down and struck out 7 in his 4 inning outing, walking none. Hultzen sat around the 94 mph mark and was told he hit 97 a few times. Wow…Impressed with his change up. He fanned Trayvon Robinson on 3 pitches and 2 were change ups. On the fastball Robinson cracked his bat and was not too happy about it. Impressive. Never got rattled.
- Brian Sweeney, Jose Jimenez and Oliver Perez tossed 2 scoreless innings each for Tacoma and Steven Pryor allowed a run in the 11th.
- Wrapping up the day for Jackson was Daniel Cooper and his only flaw was a solo homer to Edilio Colina.
- Subs in the game of note were a few former Jackson players like Jake Shaffer, who had a single off of Oliver Perez and James McOwen who was 0-for-2 in the game.
- Mario Martinez reminds me a lot of Francisco Martinez. Mario had a double in the game.
- Serving as bat boys were former Jackson pitchers Mauricio Robles, Steven Hensley and Brian Moran. None were as good as Scott Patterson a few days before though I hear.
The high sky affected several fly balls. Out here in the “Valley of the Sun”, the term “high sky” has a different meaning. Especially since I have not seen a cloud in 2 days.
The best way to describe minor league camp is mass chaos. It reminds of travel ball when I was young. You play at a complex of fields and rotate from one to the other. The difference of course is these are professional players. It is something you really have to see to understand. You see a lot of friends and family taking in the activities. The attendance at the game today was probably 20 though.
After the day ended at Mariners minor league camp, I decided to head over to the last few innings of the Padres/Indians game. After the game I had a chance to catch up with former Diamond Jaxx manager Phil Plantier. He is now the hitting coach for the San Diego Padres.
Below are a few more pictures of day 3 in Arizona. Cick on each picture to make larger. Flying back to Tennessee Friday morning, but coming back with a bit of a sun tan!. Been a fun week.