Spring training chugs along, and more Rainiers players made a mark in the Cactus League over the weekend.
Zach Shank had a couple of hits, including a game-winner, on Saturday. D.J. Peterson launched his first homer of the year, and so did new outfielder Kyle Waldrop. Boog Powell had a pair of hits yesterday, including a triple.
Look for more Tacoma players to get major league spring training action over the next two weeks, while many Mariners starters are shifting over to World Baseball Classic teams.
Meanwhile, MLB announced its official rule changes for 2017. Most involve a quicker instant replay system, which does not matter to us – we still don’t have instant replay in Triple-A.
But they did institute the no-pitch intentional walk, in which you just wave the batter to first base.
This will have no real effect on games anywhere, except to save the embarrassing once-a-decade wild pitch on an intentional ball.
Last season Rainiers pitchers issued nine intentional walks, and Rainiers batters were purposefully walked 14 times. So we would have saved about 23 minutes during a 144-game schedule. Not a big deal.
I guess I won’t be delivering the anticlimactic “and there’s the fourth wide one” anymore.
At least the fans can still boo when their guy gets waved to first base.
In case you are curious – I had a hunch, but looked it up to be sure – the Rainiers batter who was intentionally walked the most last season was Stefen Romero. Four times.
- Longtime baseball writer Larry Stone wrapped up his ten days in Mariners camp and shared his thoughts.
- Bob Dutton followed suit with eight things he has noticed so far. He encourages fans to head to Cheney Stadium early in the season for a look at Tyler O’Neill.
- Ryan Divish has a lot more on new pitcher Chase De Jong, who figures to be in the Tacoma starting rotation.
- Infielder Mike Freeman cleared waivers and was outrighted to Tacoma. This is good news for the Rainiers.
- Story of the day: Fangraphs has an in-depth look at the background of Mariners relief prospect Thyago Vieira.
- Felix Hernandez pitched on Sunday and now he joins the Venezuelan team for the World Baseball Classic.
- Speaking of the WBC, it opened last night (actually this morning – first pitch was 2:30 AM Pacific time) with Israel upsetting Korea, 2-1.
- The battle to be the second lefty in the Mariners bullpen is heating up.
- It’s starting to look like Steve Cishek won’t be ready for opening day.
- Larry Stone weighed in on the Mariners improved team speed.
- Cactus League game reports: the team played its first split-squad on Sunday, with Felix Hernandez making a start in one game and Andrew Moore in the other… in a 4-3 win over the Rockies on Saturday, Zach Shank had two big hits and got some love from manager Scott Servais… a little spring training three-game win streak ended with an 8-2 loss to Texas on Friday… and on Thursday, Ariel Miranda pitched three solid innings in a 6-2 win over the Brewers.
- John McGrath writes that the way to speed up baseball is to encourage more contact.
- In the PCL, the Reno Aces announced they are retiring the jersey of original manager Brett Butler.
- Giants coach Jose Aguacil – who managed Sacramento last season – was hit in the head by a foul ball in a scary injury.