Baseball games! We just had a weekend of baseball games!
Hold the enthusiasm for a minute, Mariners fans, because the games were somewhat terrifying.
Injuries keep coming, although it seems that the M’s caught a few “lucky” breaks.
The scariest moment came yesterday, when Felix Hernandez was smoked by a line drive – which hit him near the elbow of his pitching arm. Fortunately, the X-rays came back negative, and Felix is listed as “day-to-day.” However, he’s still in pain and he’ll be treated with caution. The most current update is the first link down below.
Another scare came when Dan Vogelbach was drilled in the foot by a pitch on Friday. He remained in the game at the time, but later that night it swelled up and he was wearing a walking boot the next day. Again we got somewhat fortunate: it was simply a deep bruise, and in fact Vogelbach is back in the lineup today as the designated hitter – so he only missed three games.
With Ryon Healy (progressing nicely!) and Erasmo Ramirez (no recent updates) still on the shelf, it’s been a rocky camp for Seattle.
Here’s a rundown of the first four exhibition games:
In the Cactus League opener on Friday the Mariners beat San Diego, 3-2. Kyle Seager had a couple of hits and a nice defensive play. Potential Tacoma starters Andrew Moore and Christian Bergman each pitched two scoreless innings.
On Saturday the White Sox rallied late to beat the Mariners, 5-3. Taylor Motter and Gordon Beckham each had two hits, but the White Sox took the lead with a pair of runs in the eighth inning against reliever Mike Morin.
The pitching shined on Sunday, when the Mariners shut out the Dodgers, 2-0. Marco Gonzales, Juan Nicasio, Edwin Diaz, Rob Whalen, Chasen Bradford, and Sam Moll combined on a two-hit shutout.
Monday was scary, when Felix Hernandez was hit in his right forearm by a line drive and left the game in obvious pain. Fortunately, X-rays were negative. Potential Rainiers third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean hit a grand slam in what turned out to be a 9-9 tie with the Chicago Cubs.
Here’s someone to root for: former Rainiers pitcher Danny Hultzen is attempting a comeback, and the Chicago Cubs are giving him a chance.
The Mariners first round pick in 2011, Hultzen had two major arm surgeries and eventually parted ways with Seattle. He has not pitched since 2016, and the last time he was fully healthy was in 2013 – and when he was healthy, he was really good (4-1, 2.05 ERA in six starts for Tacoma and on the brink of the majors at the time of his injury that year).
According to the Chicago Tribune, Hultzen finished his degree at the University of Virginia while resting his arm. It would be pretty neat if Hultzen was with the Iowa Cubs when they visit Tacoma in June.
- Felix Hernandez status report: he’s officially “day-to-day,” but the story makes it sound like he could be out for a little while. How long is the question.
- Ariel Miranda and Andrew Moore are competing to fill in for the injured Erasmo Ramirez.
- Former infielder Dee Gordon has been getting his work in, learning how to play center field.
- The Mariners are counting on Mike Leake to be a workhorse, Matt Calkins writes.
- Calkins caught up with Robinson Cano, who wants to return to superstar status this season.
- Dan Vogelbach got a scare when he was smoked in the foot by a pitch, and it “blew up on him” overnight. He had an MRI and it was just a bad bruise.
- Lefty Marco Gonzales has made some changes for 2018.
- Mariners 2017 first round draft pick Evan White has looked pretty sharp in spring training games.
- Some ex-Rainiers appear in the latest version of Baseball America’s minor league transactions: reliever Dean Kiekhefer signed with the Reds, whose Triple-A affiliate is in his home town of Louisville. Alex Liddi – Alex Liddi??!!! – has signed with Kansas City and could play for Omaha this year. Outfielder James Ramsey who played in one game for the 2017 Rainiers (and did not bat) has signed with the Twins.
- In the PCL, they broke ground on the new ballpark in Las Vegas on Friday. The plan is to open in 2019. It was a long road to get here.
- University of Washington pitcher Joe DeMers tossed a perfect game on Saturday. It was the first no-hitter for UW since Tim Lincecum and Nick Hagadone combined to pitch one in 2006. DeMers has been known to baseball scouts since he was in his early teens.
- Speaking of Lincecum, he is reportedly signing a major league deal with the Texas Rangers.