Notebook: Mariners using technology to improve base-running
Monday’s chalk talk session introduced new data on base-running. Mariners manager Scott Servais is looking to maximize what his team can do on the bases. To that end, they’re using a visual aid – a base-path map of sorts – showing each base-runner’s initials as well as their primary and secondary leads as measured by Statcast.
“It was really cool. I had never seen anything like that,” infielder Chris Taylor said. “It gave you a feel for where you are. For me, I didn’t realize I got that far behind first base on my lead and I even got further away from the base-path on my secondary (lead). I had no idea I was that far behind the base-path.”
Servais believes the information was well received.
“I think that was the biggest lead Nelson Cruz has had in about five years,” he said in reference to what he saw in a game hours after the morning meeting. “He was quick to point out that he scored easy on the double from Adam Lind.
“It was good. The guys took it well. I think they were curious to where they were at and how they stacked up against each other.”
First-base coach Casey Candaele led the meeting. Servais liked a key takeaway he gave the players.
“You run the bases for your teammates,” he said. “I think when you take that approach to it, you take it a little bit more seriously.”
Taylor is taking it seriously. He is one of the speedier guys in camp, but the data showed that he could get to second base in a more efficient manner, a manner that could lead to runs.
“It’s a game of inches. So every inch you can get closer to the next base is helping you in your advantage,” he said.
Dings and dents starting to pile up
Add Seth Smith to the list of Mariners dealing with something. Smith experienced tightness in his left groin area after making a play in the outfield in the Mariners’ split-squad loss to the Diamondbacks on Monday.
“It happens every once in a while. Usually takes a couple of days and then is better. It’s just tight. No big deal,” he said Tuesday morning.
Smith was able to play catch and hit in morning drills. He is not expected to miss much time.
“He’s probably down for just a couple of days,” Servais said. “We’ve got a few guys right now; it’s that point of spring training. They are going back-to-back days, they are getting deeper in games, getting four at-bats. They all want the at-bats, but getting their legs underneath them. We have got a few guys who are a little sore.”
A few guys sore and at least one dealing with illness as catcher Steve Clevenger was kept home for a second straight day with flu-like symptoms.
“A couple of coaches are getting a little bug too, so I have got to be careful,” Servais said. “It happens. Every spring there is always something that goes around. Spend this much time together and something like this will happen.”
Leonys Martin, CF
Ketel Marte, SS
Stefen Romero, 1B
Kyle Seager, 3B
Dae-Ho Lee, DH
Mike Zunino, C
Chris Taylor, 2B
Boog Powell, LF
Daniel Robertson, RF
Cody Martin, SP
Cody Martin, whom the Mariners are looking at for a long-relief role, gets the start as they prefer not to let Wade Miley face the division rivals for a second time this spring. Martin is scheduled to go three to four innings.
Stefen Romero is getting his second start at first base. Regardless of having an option remaining, his stock appears to be on the rise.
“The consistency of his at-bats, it’s not just dead-head hacking as I call it. He’s got a plan,” Servais said. He’s faced all kinds of pitching and handled himself pretty well. He is certainly in our mix for that spot.”
Leonys Martin is at the top of the order as Norichika Aoki gets the day off. Aoki has started three straight games as he looks to take recent swing adjustments into games.
• Wade Miley threw four innings, allowed one hit and struck out four in his simulated game against minor leaguers. He threw 40 pitches (31 strikes) in what very well could have been record time.
• Charlie Furbush played catch for about 6 minutes Tuesday morning and all appeared to go well. How he feels Wednesday will determine his next step.
• Steve Palermo, a Major League umpire supervisor, was in camp Tuesday morning to discuss and answer questions about the new slide rules.
• Mariners Tim Bogar, James Paxton and Romero as well as Root Sports’ Brad Adam and Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times joined us on “The Cactus League Report” Monday night. If you missed it, fear not, we have a podcast.