The Mariners open up the Cactus League with the first exhibition game of spring today at 12:05 (Pacific). The Mariners play in Phoenix against Manny Ramirez and the Oakland A’s.
The game is being broadcast on 710 AM – that’s right, baseball on the radio, today!
The big story this week was the injury to Franklin Gutierrez. The Mariners center fielder is going to be out for the rest of spring training, and possibly the month of April as well.
This creates an opening in center field, which will bring additional playing time to somebody – probably either Michael Saunders or Casper Wells. It also opens up an additional spot on the opening day roster for a back-up outfielder who would have been with the Rainiers to start the season.
An aside on Saunders: I spoke with Rainiers manager Daren Brown yesterday, and he said that Saunders new batting stance is allowing him to get his bat out quicker, and he’s been impressive so far. Hopefully this will continue into the exhibition games.
Brown and the rest of the Rainiers coaching staff (Dwight Bernard and Jeff Pentland) have been in spring training since February 9, assisting with major league camp. They probably won’t get assigned to the Rainiers group until minor league spring training games begin on March 16.
- The Mariners have always been very proactive signing players internationally, but… a pitcher from France? Really?
- With Franklin Gutierrez out for a month, Larry Stone writes that the Mariners are feeling the loss of Greg Halman in a different way.
- John McGrath details Gutierrez’s injury history, and presents his plan for replacing him.
- He’s only been in the major leagues for half a season, but Dustin Ackley has locked up a starting job.
- Chris Egan of King 5 did a video story on the Mariners players talking about baseball cards.
- MILB.com posted a Q&A with possible Rainiers starting pitcher James Paxton.
- More rumor mongering regarding the ballpark project in Portland, which is still focused on short-season baseball and not Triple-A.
Check back on Monday for a weekend round-up, and then we’ll finish our look at the potential 2012 Rainiers with the bullpen picture on Wednesday.