A Trip To Surprise

The Mariners Triple-A group traveled to Surprise to take on the Texas Rangers (Round Rock) on Wednesday morning, and they brought a couple of ringers.

Mariners Corey Hart and Mike Zunino led off each inning for Tacoma, as the two players are trying to get as many at-bats as possible prior to the Mariners opener on Monday.

Both players had extra-base hits early in the game. Zunino ripped a long triple to left-center in the first inning against Round Rock starter Ryan Rodebaugh, and Corey Hart laced a double to the gap in the third inning.

Tacoma scored two runs in the first inning, but the early lead did not hold up. Matt Palmer started on the mound for Tacoma, and he had a tough time putting scoreless innings on the board early. Palmer was trying to sink the ball and get grounders, but when he left the ball up it was hit hard.

Palmer was replaced by 24-year-old right-hander Jordan Pries, who I had to look up. Turns out he is a Stanford product who was a starter for Class-A High Desert last year. I’d be surprised to see him in Tacoma next Thursday, but maybe later this year or next.

The Rainiers defense looked like this:

  • C – Jesus Sucre
  • 1B – Jesus Montero (replaced by Rich Poythress in 6th)
  • 2B – Ty Kelly
  • SS – Gabriel Noriega
  • 3B – Stephen Proscia
  • LF – Xavier Avery (I saw him bat at least; I think he was in LF)
  • CF – Travis Witherspoon
  • RF – James Jones

Several players we expect to see with the Rainiers did not play today. Endy Chavez and Humberto Quintero are coming to Tacoma, but I didn’t see them. Nate Tenbrink wasn’t in there today, and Carlos Triunfel hasn’t been playing this week because he got hit in the wrist (not considered serious).

Sucre had a nice game defensively, hustling to back up an errant throw and gunning down a runner trying to steal.

On the Texas side of the field, former Washington Huskies star Brent Lillibridge doubled off Palmer.

Also of note, top Rangers prospect Joey Gallo hit a bloop single, struck out on a bad ball, lined out to second, and botched a grounder at third – we saw pretty much everything I’ve read about this guy, except for a tape-measure home run.

From Lone Star Ball:

The 2013 season saw Gallo spend the year at low-A Hickory as a 19 year old. In the Sally League, Gallo had one of the more insane statistical lines you’ll ever see, at any level. Gallo had a .245/.334/.610 slash line, with 165 Ks and 48 walks in 446 plate appearances. Gallo put up only 34 singles, along with 19 doubles, 5 triples and 38 homers. It was truly a bizarre season, one of the more extreme Three True Outcome campaigns you’ll come across.

No typos in there: he hit more homers than singles last year. So I suppose I saw a rarity today: a Joey Gallo single!


  • Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports gives his perspective on the Mariners situation with Randy Wolf.
  • Two of the Mariners stars from 2001 are in the final days of their careers, John McGrath writes.
  • In Tuesday night’s exhibition game against Kansas City, Nick Franklin played two innings in right field (no balls were hit his way). If that is going to become a regular thing, we’ll see it first hand in Tacoma while he learns the position.
  • Former Rainiers pitcher Michael Pineda earned a spot in the New York Yankees starting rotation.
  • The Kansas City Royals are trying to sneak Carlos Peguero through waivers, and they shipped Adam Moore to the San Diego Padres for cash considerations.

This ends my spring training trip. I fly home on Thursday and have one week for final preparations before the PCL season starts on April 3. The players down here are ready to get started, although there is a little anxiety as the Triple-A roster crunch is about to happen. We should have a Tacoma roster by Tuesday, I would think.


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