I drove out to Surprise! for the Tacoma-Omaha spring training game today.
I thought about turning this whole blog post into Surprise! jokes but the only one I could come up with was: Guess which city is entirely made up of traffic lights that are bunched too close together? Surprise!
See, it’s not even that funny.
Anyway, I arrived in the second inning due to the traffic. Let’s hit the bullet points:
- Tacoma started left-hander Anthony Vasquez, who appears to be ticketed for Class-AA. Omaha countered with lefty Edgar Osuna.
- Defensively, Tacoma had an infield of Johan Limonta (1B), Dustin Ackley (2B), Sean Kazmar (SS), and Alex Liddi (3B). The outfield was Mike Carp in left, Greg Halman in center, and Carlos Peguero in right. Jose Yepez was the catcher.
- This could very easily be a regular season Tacoma starting lineup. Yepez is apparently the #5 catcher in the organization, behind Olivo, Moore, Bard, and Gimenez.
- Don’t ask me what the batting order was, because there wasn’t one. Mariners Adam Kennedy and Jack Cust were there to get extra at-bats, and Kennedy led off every inning while Cust batted third or fourth in each inning. Neither played defense.
- Even with their major league ringers getting seven at-bats each, Tacoma trailed 8-3 when I left in the bottom of the eighth inning. They were going to play ten innings regardless of the score, because they had ten innings of pitching to get in.
- Tacoma was down because Omaha has two of the best hitting prospects in baseball, and they each went deep. Mike Moustakas hit a long home run (which I missed) in the first inning, and I saw Eric Hosmer crush a line-drive three-run shot in the third. Both are left-handed hitters, and both hit their homers off the lefty Vasquez.
- Tacoma had a few offensive highlights: Johan Limonta hit a hard liner to right in a left-vs.-left situation against Osuna, and Greg Halman hit a rocket to the opposite field corner for a double.
- Manny Delcarmen relieved Vasquez in the sixth inning and went two frames. I watched one of his innings from behind the plate and he topped out at 93 mph on the Rainiers gun.
- Edward Paredes came on to pitch the bottom of the eighth. At that point many of the Rainiers players were out of the game and Class-A minor leaguers were playing instead, plus I had received an ominous message from Kirby Arnold about traffic in Sun City when the senior buffets open at 4:00, so I took my privilege and headed out.
- Blake Beavan was jokingly talking smack about his intersquad game tomorrow morning: he matches up against Felix Hernandez. We decided that the only way Felix wins is if Beavan doesn’t get to bat.
- Coaching can be dangerous: Rainiers hitting coach Alonzo Powell was sitting on a folding chair next to the first base dugout, filling out his hitting chart when Adam Kennedy somehow hit a sharp foul ball backwards through his own body. It took two wicked hops and smoked ‘Zo right in the elbow. He didn’t rub it. Meanwhile, Daren Brown was doing a poor job of hiding his laughter in the third base coach’s box.
- We received news today that outfielder Gabe Gross elected to become a free agent rather than join Tacoma. Gross would be a good player for the Rainiers, but that helps clear out an over-crowded roster.
- Tacoma Assistant To The Head Trainer Jeremy Clipperton wanted to send a friendly “hello” out to all of the Mike… Off-Mic readers.
Tomorrow morning the intersquad game should be fun, with Felix facing a bunch of Rainiers hitters. I’ll post my impressions in the afternoon.