My final day at Mariners spring training did not go the way I thought it would.
With no Cactus League games left, and a true Triple-A game against Texas/Nashville on the back fields of the Peoria Sports Complex, I figured this would be the chance to see an entire lineup of likely Tacoma Rainiers players.
It was actually just the opposite.
Only Joey Curletta and Shed Long represented the actual Rainiers among position players in Saturday’s game. The other seven spots were filled by low-level minor leaguers, mostly teenagers who played in the Dominican Summer League last year, and a few guys from Everett or Clinton.
“Ian Miller is feeling sick, and I’m giving Adam Law the game off,” said manager Daren Brown. “The rest of the guys aren’t here.”
What? Not here?
Turns out the Mariners flew ten Tacoma players to Seattle earlier Saturday morning. These players are going to appear at FanFest and play in the exhibition games against the Padres this week.
Then the players will fly back to Arizona for two or three days, and then fly to Tacoma to get settled in for a couple of days before finally flying to Sacramento to open the PCL season on April 4. That’s kind of a crazy schedule.
Still, there was a game on Saturday, and here’s how they lined up.
- Shed Long – SS
- Joey Curletta – DH
- Connor Hoover – 2B
- Freuddy Batista – C
- Nolan Perez – 3B
- Luis Veloz – RF
- Cash Gladfelter – !B
- Jepherson Garcia – LF
- Billy Cooke – CF
It would be interesting to check in 2023 and see how many of the 3-through-9 hitters made it to Tacoma. There are two guys in there who haven’t even played in an official game in the US yet.
Anyway, I settled in to watch some Shed and Curletta at-bats, and keep an eye on the pitching.
Long went 2-for-3 before being taken out. He hit a sharp RBI single through the infield in his second at-bat, and then beat out an infield chopper against lefty Zac Curtis in his final AB.
Curletta doubled in each of his first two plate appearances, and went 2-for-4. His first double was an opposite field liner to the right field corner, and his second one was a line drive over the head of the center fielder.
On the mound, Double-A lefty Anthony Misiewicz made the start and pitched the first four innings. He allowed a handful of what should be unearned runs due to a comedy of misplays in his teenage outfield. Hopefully he has a good sense of humor.
In the fifth Rainiers reliever Ruben “R.J.” Alaniz came in, working around an infield error, a foul ball that should have been caught and wasn’t, and a walk to pitch a scoreless inning. He showed a 94-95 mph fastball and a slider during his brief stint.
Right when I was starting to wonder what I was doing watching this game – other than for comedic purposes – the Rainiers brought in a relief pitcher whom I did not know was in the organization and looked like a Triple-A player.
Right-hander Parker Markel reached Triple-A Durham in the Tampa Bay Rays organization in 2016, and posted a 2.52 ERA in 34 games. He decided to play in Korea in 2017, signing with the Lotte Giants, but was released at the end of March and did not pitch (as far as my internet sleuthing can determine) the remainder of the season.
Returning to the States, Markel signed with Sioux City of the independent American Association in 2018. After 62 strikeouts in 41.1 innings last season, the Mariners signed him to a minor league contract.
Markel pitched two scoreless innings in Saturday, reaching 94 mph and showing a sharp-breaking slider. He looks like someone who might help the Rainiers at some point this year.
Sticking around for the later innings of this spring training game paid off.
That’s it for this trip to Arizona – now its time to head home and hunker down, studying up for 140 Tacoma Rainiers radio broadcasts.