Happy Major League Opening Day – a holiday to many, but for us PCL folks it’s just a warm up. The Rainiers season starts on Thursday.
There is a tremendous slate of televised games today, and many are shown nationally on ESPN or ESPN2. The action starts at 10:05 AM, and the final game is the Mariners season opener in Anaheim at 7:05.
Some television providers are doing a free preview of the MLB package for the first week of the season, so check and see if you are getting it.
Word came down on Saturday that the Mariners released Rainiers first baseman Rich Poythress.
I had high hopes for Poythress to be a factor in the PCL this year (and he still might, but with some other team). However, with first basemen Jesus Montero and Ji-Man Choi both on the Mariners 40-man roster, and thus with playing time priority over Poythress, I’m sure the Mariners simply figured he wasn’t going to play much this year.
These types of situations often work out better for the player, and hopefully that will be the case with Poythress. Ideally, he’ll get picked up by another team that has an opening for a Triple-A first baseman, and he’ll get a chance to play regularly.
Another player the Mariners let go was former Rainiers pitcher Anthony Vasquez. Vasquez had a nice run with Tacoma in 2011 and reached the major leagues before he was waylaid by injuries: shoulder problems and of all things, brain surgery. Vasquez was pitching this spring, so hopefully he’ll get picked up by another team.
I’m not sure if/when we will have a blog update on Tuesday – I need to spend some time getting the broadcast booth ready at Cheney, that’s the priority. However, there is a chance the Rainiers roster will be announced tomorrow afternoon. When it is announced, I’ll post it as quickly as possible (if we don’t get it tomorrow, we’ll certainly have the roster on Wednesday).
In the meantime, we have One Million links:
- The News Tribune has a story on the Mariners final roster moves and starting rotation. It looks nothing like last year’s opening day roster.
- Here is a link to the Mariners final 25-man roster (plus the three players who will go on the disabled list).
- Felix Hernandez is ready for his Opening Day start. Within this story: some good Mariners opening day trivia questions.
- For Baseball Prospectus subscribers, Sam Miller previews tonight’s marquee match-up: Felix vs. Mike Trout.
- Despite the opening line in his column, Larry Stone writes that today is the day to have hope.
- On his Seattle Times blog, Ryan Divish posted preseason MLB predictions from some experts and some suspects (such as yours truly).
- Sunday saw the TNT put out its Mariners preview. Bob Dutton has a big piece on Robinson Cano, and asks if he can lead as well as play. John McGrath looked back at Michael Jordan‘s foray into baseball 20 years ago. Outside of the Mariners, McGrath asked and answered five questions going into the MLB season. From the wire, a detailed look at all five AL West teams. Finally, McGrath ranks the 30 teams, and the TNT staff made its picks (at the bottom of McGrath’s rankings).
- The Seattle Times ran its Mariners preview on Saturday. Jerry Brewer wrote that signing Robinson Cano was not enough, Larry Stone has a column on Cano and Felix Hernandez, and Ryan Divish has a column on how the Mariners hope that with Cano the team will finally fill the No. 3 spot in the lineup. Divish also has a feature piece on Robinson Cano’s sweet swing.
- Bob Dutton has a nice feature on Dustin Ackley, who goes into tonight’s opener with a lot of confidence.
- At USS Mariner, Jeff Sullivan posted his annual pipe dream. One of these years it will all come true, Jeff.
- Final exhibition round-up: new addition Chris Young pitched well in the Cactus League finale, but the Mariners lost to Colorado 2-1… and on Friday, Nate Tenbrink had the walk-off RBI single to beat the Rockies, 3-2. Go Rainiers!
- Watching baseball today, but having trouble which games to focus on? Check out Grant Brisbee’s Opening Day Viewers Guide.
- Baseball America’s minor league transactions has all of the Mariners (and other teams) end-of-spring moves.
- In the PCL, the El Paso Chihuahuas figure to have some former big leaguers. One of them will be outfielder Jeff Francoeur. The Chihuahuas will have PCL prankster Cody Decker. We also have a feature on El Paso manager Pat Murphy, and a piece looking forward to the opening of the ballpark.
- The Oakland A’s sent Stephen Vogt to our new division rival Sacramento. Vogt figures to be their best hitter.
- Out in Omaha, Rob White takes a look at the projected Storm Chasers opening day roster.
- Nashville is going to be loaded with veterans.
- Mike Kickham will be Fresno’s opening day starter, but the most popular Grizzlies player will be Dontrelle Willis.
- Talk about a bummer: the St. Louis Cardinals exhibition game in Memphis got rained out.
- Here’s a PCL preview from the folks at MiLB.com. The bit about humidors is interesting, and I love the list at the end – any time Tacoma’s Juan Berenguer gets a mention is OK by me.
- The American Hot Dog & Sausage Council projects that fans will eat 21.3 million hot dogs at MLB games this year, according to Darren Rovell. That projection is for Major League Baseball only – in the minors, fans have been known to eclipse that mark on a single 50-cent Hot Dog Night in Albuquerque!
- Lucas Mann (the author of Class-A, the book about the Mariners Clinton affiliate) has an article on Slate about poor pay in the low minor leagues.
- There was an interesting story in the New York Times about baseball autographs.
- MLB players voted to increase the penalties for PED suspensions.
- Baseball broadcasters are still shying away from using advanced statistical analysis on the air. I’m in this group, too – mostly.
That’s it – let’s watch some baseball!