The season starts for me on Thursday, when I head down to spring training. This is always a fun, but very busy trip.
I’ll be updating this blog daily – typically in the late afternoon – throughout my four-day stay in Peoria, AZ.*
At spring training, I hang out at the minor league fields. That’s where most of our players are – although this year, due to the Mariners trip to Japan, I’m going much earlier in camp than I usually do. Many of the 2012 Rainiers are still in major league camp.
Every year, I have two goals on this trip. I need to see the players who might play for Tacoma this year who I’ve never seen play before, and I need to learn if any of our returning players have made any changes to improve their game. I learn these things by watching the games at the minor league fields, and by talking to Mariners coaches and front office personnel.
Here’s my preliminary schedule, although it could change:
Thursday: land, In N Out, minor league camp day.
Friday: Triple-A game against Omaha (Kansas City) at the Surprise! complex.
Saturday: Triple-A game against Round Rock (Texas) at the Peoria complex.
Sunday: minor league camp day in the morning, then a few innings of the MLB game against the Rockies in Peoria before I have to go to the airport.
On either Friday or Saturday – or possibly both – I’ll grab dinner with Daren Brown and Dwight Bernard, and they will play coy and act like they have no idea who is going to be on our team. It’s a spring training tradition. Daren and Dwight are still in big league camp right now – in fact, Eric Wedge is shipping them to Tucson to run the Mariners split-squad game there on Friday.
I’ll pass along news and notes from the trip over the next four days.
- Blake Beavan had another good start on Monday, inching him closer to winning a spot at the back of the Mariners rotation.
- Right-hander Hector Noesi also had a good start, on Tuesday. It looks like a four-man battle for the final three spots in the Mariners rotation – the candidates are Hisashi Iwakuma, Kevin Millwood, Beavan, and Noesi. Millwood pitches tonight in a game that will be televised on Root. Yes, Erasmo Ramirez is throwing well, but it’s hard to picture him cracking the big league rotation – although long man in the bullpen is a possibility.
- Larry LaRue writes that Vincent Catricala is making a big impression in spring training – so let’s not ink him into Tacoma’s lineup just yet.
- Michael Saunders is batting over .400 this spring. That means he doesn’t have to bunt for hits.
- The always sane Larry Stone tells us why the Mariners sent down Taijuan Walker, and he forms a reasonable timetable for him based on what Eric Wedge and Carl Willis did with CC Sabathia.
- You know you want to watch the new Mariners commercials again.
- Marek W (I’m not even going to try typing that) from the Fresno Bee took a stab at guessing the Fresno Grizzlies opening day roster. Tacoma plays eight of its first 20 games against Fresno.
- Former Tacoma reliever Marc Kroon retired, and here is an excellent career recap from MiLB.com. It’s a good read.
Now, I need to go shopping for sunscreen. Anybody know where I can get some SPF 2000?
* I’ll also be posting spring training observations on my twitter account @CurtoWorld – but be forewarned, this is my personal account and “followers” are subjected to commentary on not just baseball, but also Cal basketball, music, life on the road, and whatever else crosses my mind – it’s not for everybody.