The Rainiers are back in town tonight, opening a five-game homestand against the Sacramento River Cats at 7:05.
A lot has happened since the team last took the field on Monday night in Albuquerque.
Tuesday’s game was rained out, and Wednesday was a scheduled off day, so the team hasn’t actually played baseball in a couple of days.
Meanwhile, all heck broke loose with the Mariners.
Both Felix Hernandez (shoulder stiffness) and Mitch Haniger (oblique strain) landed on the disabled list after a 19-9 loss on Tuesday. There was some further shuffling of the pitching staff after that game, as you might expect.
Pitchers Chris Heston and Evan Marshall were optioned to Tacoma.
Seattle called up pitchers Chase De Jong, Dillon Overton, and Casey Fien. They also called up outfielder Ben Gamel, to replace Haniger.
We’ve had some further shuffling in Triple-A. Catcher Ryan Scott was shifted to Low-A Clinton, and pitcher Rafael Pineda was sent to extended spring training. Bullpen catcher Alexander Capriata is currently on the active roster.
Pitcher Rob Whalen was activated from the Mariners disabled list and optioned to Tacoma today; he had shoulder inflammation during spring training. We expected him to be in the Rainiers starting rotation entering spring, but they may have changed – I’ll check with pitching coach Lance Painter when I get to the park later today.
Today the team is adding 20-year-old infielder Joseph Rosa from extended spring training. Rosa went to Double-A Arkansas for a few days two weeks ago, getting into two games and going 2-for-7.
Finally, it was just announced that outfielder Leonys Martin has cleared waivers and is outrighted to Tacoma. At “publish” time I’m not yet sure if he’ll be here for today’s game.
If you’re coming to the game tonight, make sure to visit the new beer garden on the top deck down the left field line. It’s been massively improved, and it’s open for the first time tonight.
There is now a fire pit, a full-service bar, a BBQ stand, an outlet from the Tacoma restaurant It’s Greek To Me, and a place that sells massive cookies. I heard something about bocce ball, too?
In the big picture, I’m happy that small improvements continue to be made at Cheney Stadium. As I travel around the league, it’s the ballparks that make improvements every year or two that remain fresh. The Iowa Cubs are experts at this: we go there every other year, and it seems that every trip there is some small improvement at Principal Park. Not big money construction; just smaller projects that make the experience better.
We’ve seen that at Cheney since the 2011 renovation. The R Yard was built in left field, enclosing the park and adding some cool seats. The kid’s playground and whiffle ball field opened. Now a plain concrete deck has morphed into a nice beer garden.
Let us know what you think of the new deck!
Yesterday: Tacoma got rained out on Tuesday and had an off day on Wednesday.
Roster Moves: See above.
Today: Sacramento (7-12) at Tacoma (10-8), 7:05.
Opponent Affiliation: San Francisco Giants.
Season Series: Sacramento leads, 3-1.
After opening the season going 3-1 against Tacoma, the River Cats lost ten of their next 11 games. They seem to have pulled out of it, winning two of their last three against Las Vegas.
Starting Pitchers: LHP Ricky Romero (0-1, 4.85) at RHP Christian Bergman (3-0, 2.50).
Yes, that is the former Toronto Blue Jays star. In baseball, left-handers have nine lives.
Hot Rainiers: Tyler Smith has a seven-game hitting streak, and he’s 14-for-38 over his last ten games… Boog Powell has been on base 14 times over the last five games.
Look Out For: Jae-Gyun Hwang was a star in the Korean League who took a gamble and is trying to make it in the USA. This is his first season, and he’s hitting .300 with 12 RBI in 17 games. He carries a four-game hitting streak into tonight’s game… Ryder Jones has hit safely in eight of nine games since coming off the disabled list… rehabilitating Mac Williamson went 3-for-4 with a homer and five RBI on Tuesday against Vegas.
Broadcast: The pregame show starts at 6:50 on South Sound Sports 850 AM. The broadcast also streams online via the TuneIn app – just click here.
PCL Scoreboard: Follow all Pacific Coast League games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
- James Paxton stopped the bleeding by delivering seven scoreless innings when the Mariners needed it the most on Wednesday. That’s what No. 1 starters do. Three takeaways from the game.
- The team got whacked in Detroit on Tuesday, 19-9 – here are three takeaways from the game in which Felix and Mitch Haniger got injured.
- Matt Calkins has a column saying it’s not too early to panic about the Mariners.
- In what might have been his final story for ESPN, Jim Caple wrote about Mariners prospect Dylan Unsworth.
- The Baltimore Orioles called up ex-Rainiers reliever Paul Fry on Tuesday. Fry was on the Rainiers opening day roster, and spent all of 2016 with Tacoma. He was recently claimed off waivers by the Orioles.
- Grant Brisbee has a fun story on the different types of father-son combinations in baseball.
The whole PCL was off yesterday, but there are some good stories:
- The Las Vegas paper has the story behind PCL team’s name.
- Fresno got a big lift to its pitching staff when Rule 5 Draft pick Mike Hauschild was returned to the Astros organization.
- Omaha has a hot hitter in first baseman Ryan O’Hearn.
- Oklahoma City outfielder Trayce Thompson is trying to break out of a slump.