I’m headed to spring training early Tuesday morning, and will spend three days at the backfields of the Mariners complex in Peoria watching the Rainiers get ready for opening day. Of course we’ll have reports here on the blog.
In the meantime, we have lots more news from camp over the weekend. There were some roster moves:
Reliever Justin DeFratus re-signed with the organization on a minor league deal, and we can now count on him to be with the Rainiers on April 7.
The Mariners signed another pitcher with big league experience to a minor league contract: right-hander Steve Johnson. He’s appeared in two dozen major league games with the Baltimore Orioles, scattered over the past four years. You can see his career numbers right here.
The major league camp was cut down a bit with the following moves:
Optioned to Tacoma: relief pitchers Jonathan Aro and David Rollins, and catcher Steve Baron.
Reassigned to Minor League Camp: starting pitcher Adrian Sampson and infielder Ed Lucas.
All of these players seem likely to be Rainiers – although I’m starting to wonder what the M’s plan to do with all of these catchers. Three backstops have already been sent to Tacoma in Baron, Mike Zunino, and Steve Lerud. There are still three in major league camp: Chris Ianetta, Steve Clevenger, and Rob Brantly. I’m not sure how this is going to shake out.
Here’s a look at how some possible Rainiers players performed in major league exhibition games over the weekend. You will note that Daniel Robertson has been hot all March.
Friday: Mariners 7, Rangers 1
The Mariners used something that looked a lot like a major league starting lineup in this game, but some Rainiers candidates came in halfway through the game… Daniel Robertson had another hit and boosted his Cactus League average to .500… infielder Benji Gonzalez went 1-for-2… likely Rainiers starting pitcher Adrian Sampson worked 2.1 scoreless innings, striking out three with no walks… James Jones went 0-for-2 with a walk, but he’s with Texas now.
Saturday (split squad): Royals 5, Mariners 4
Outfielders Daniel Robertson and Dario Pizzano each hit doubles… Joe Wieland pitched three innings and threw 49 pitches, building up arm strength to join the Rainiers rotation (although he allowed four runs).
Saturday (split squad): Diamondbacks 4, Mariners 2
First baseman Efren Navarro hit a home run and drove in both Seattle runs… infielder Ed Lucas went 3-for-4… reliever Blake Parker allowed his first runs of spring training and took the loss.
Sunday: Indians 3, Mariners 1
Daniel Robertson went 1-for-3 and drove in the Mariners only run… a pair of likely Rainiers relievers pitched well: Mayckol Guaipe worked two perfect innings, and Casey Coleman delivered a scoreless ninth inning.
- Bob Dutton has a thorough update on where the Mariners major league position battles stand with two weeks left in camp.
- Manager Scott Servais discussed the players who were sent to Tacoma.
- Yesterday’s game went by really quickly – which is apparently a pretty common result when the fast-working Wade Miley is on the mound.
- The Mariners had two good starts in a split squad day on Saturday: Taijuan Walker threw well in a day game, and Felix Hernandez was strong at night.
- On Friday, Nathan Karns had a strong start in a 7-1 win over Texas. Karns is making a push to win the fifth starter spot.
- Stefen Romero has had his bid to make the M’s opening day roster stalled by nagging injuries.
- Mike Montgomery is adjusting to his new role in the bullpen.
- Former Rainiers pitcher Rafael Soriano has decided to retire from baseball. He had a long career.
- David Laurila’s Sunday Noteboook at Fangraphs has some great anecdotes from Dick Egan, a longtime scout who still visits Cheney Stadium for one or two series each year.
- In the PCL, the new name of Aces Ballpark in Reno is… drumroll please… Greater Nevada Field.
- The Salt Lake Bees are hosting the Angels in an exhibition game Tuesday.
Our next post will come your way from sunny Arizona. The Rainiers play Charlotte (White Sox) tomorrow afternoon on the backfields of the Peoria complex and I plan to be there.