Rainiers Add Playground & Pitcher

Today’s regularly scheduled column has been postponed due to some Rainiers news:

You may have heard by now that the Rainiers have teamed up with the Cheney Foundation and Metro Parks to create a playground and Wiffle ball field at Cheney Stadium. This is scheduled to be ready in April.

It will be placed on the right field side of the ballpark, behind the berm. This area has been underutilized since the 2011 renovation – it’s where the old batting cages were, and the structure of that building was left in place and there were some picnic tables there which had no view of the game. Kind of useless, really.

Now it will be a cool little mini-park which will be open year-round. While lots of the details haven’t been finalized, I’m told that this park will be open year round and free for public use when there is not a Rainiers game going on.

Two other details from short-timing Rainiers spokesman Ben Spradling:

  • Adults will be able to play on the Wiffle ballpark, so round up your friends (what if Metro Parks starts an adult league?).
  • There will be protection from foul balls so kids on the playground aren’t at risk during Rainiers games.

I think it’s a cool idea and can’t wait to see the final product.

We had a roster move on Monday which could impact the 2016 Tacoma Rainiers.

The Mariners claimed right-handed pitcher Cody Martin off waivers from the Oakland A’s, and added him to the 40-man roster.

Martin, 26, is a product of Gonzaga University where he was teammates with current Rainiers/Mariners pitcher Tyler Olson. He’s made 54 Triple-A starts over the past two-and-a-half seasons, going 15-19 with a solid 3.66 ERA. Most of his Triple-A time came with Gwinett in the International League.

Martin made his MLB debut this season, working in 21 games out of the Atlanta bullpen and then appearing in four games for Oakland. He has two option years remaining – making him a strong candidate to appear on the main field at Cheney Stadium next year (as opposed to the Wiffle ball field).

To make room for Martin on the 40-man roster, the Mariners released reliever Logan Kensing. Kensing is now a free agent and can sign with anybody – including the Mariners, who may be interested in re-signing him on a minor league deal. I’m sure Kensing will take his time and try to make a smart choice figuring out which organization will give him the best major league opportunity.

Links:

  • We’ll start with The News Tribune’s story on the Wiffle ball field, which includes quotes from Rainiers team president Aaron Artman about kids who “get the crazies.” Aaron has four kids and he is highly knowledgable about this.
  • Ryan Divish has an update on the Mariners manager search.
  • Tom Allison – one of the holdovers from Jack Zduriencik‘s regime – has been promoted to oversee all Mariners scouting under new GM Jerry Dipoto. Bob Dutton’s story on this also includes some other front office and managerial notes.
  • Former Tacoma Rainiers catcher Jason Varitek has been interviewed for the Mariners manager position, Jon Heyman reported.
  • Former Tacoma Tigers pitcher Jeff Jones retired from his position as major league pitching coach for the Detroit Tigers. Jones started 29 games for Tacoma from 1982 to 1984.
  • Ex-Rainiers pitchers Jarrett Grube and Anthony Vazquez made the Team USA roster for an upcoming international tournament in Asia. Current Mariners prospect Tyler O’Neill will play for Team Canada.
  • In the PCL, we have good news from New Orleans where the Zephyrs and the State of Louisiana have agreed to extend their stadium lease through 2020, with hopes for a renovation project in the future.

Check back on Friday for that post I alluded to last time – unless more interesting news breaks out.

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