SHANNON DRAYER

Mariners Notebook: Updates on Evan White, Robbie Ray and more

Mar 1, 2023, 10:40 AM

Mariners Robbie Ray...

Mariners pitcher Robbie Ray makes his way to the dugout during a spring training game on Feb. 24, 2023. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Facing the longest trip of the spring and possible rain, the Mariners held a light workout Wednesday morning before leaving for Mesa to take on the Cubs.

Six important Mariners highlights from spring training so far

The color-coded, multiple-cell daily assignment list for all 76 players was reduced to a few lines. Pitchers get your work in, game hitters in the cages first, George Kirby throw a bullpen. A nice mini break before the drive across the valley. Plenty to see when we get there.

Lineup!

Mariners at Cubs, 12:05 p.m.
(Game airing on tape delay at 6:55 p.m. on Seattle Sports – click for schedule)

Julio Rodríguez, CF
Jarred Kelenic, LF
Eugenio Suárez, 3B
AJ Pollock, DH
Evan White, 1B
Sam Haggerty, 2B
Tom Murphy, C
Kole Calhoun, RF
Mason McCoy, SS

Robbie Ray, P

Rodríguez and Kelenic at 1-2, dare to dream. As I have said multiple times on the radio, far too soon on Kelenic – the real answers will come when he faces pitchers in-season – but what we have seen in Peoria is encouraging.

Jarred Kelenic displays new approach with two-homer day

It has also been all positives for first baseman Evan White, who appears to finally be completely healthy. Any questions that his hip surgeries and issues would hinder him in the field were wiped out early with brilliant diving plays to both his left and right in his first game.

“The body feels good,” he said. “It’s nice to just go out there and focus on the game instead of ‘I don’t feel very good, don’t move.’ I’m excited to see where it takes us.”

Living nearby the Mariners’ spring training facility in Peoria, White said using the Trajekt hitting machine has been a big part of his offseason work.

Related: Mariners get serious in batting cage with revolutionary machine

“It was huge. It’s the best I have ever felt coming into my first couple of at-bats because you are actually able to get some game-like at-bats in the offseason, which his awesome.”

On the hill Wednesday, we get our second look at Robbie Ray this spring. It will be interesting to see if the 2021 American League Cy Young Award winner throws his new splitter more. According to pitching coach Pete Woodworth, it’s a pitch that they actually talked about throughout last season but did not feel comfortable trying to incorporate in a playoff push. With a full winter and spring to work on it, Woodworth sees it as a potentially valuable addition.

“Everything he throws is hard,” he said. “Even with the two-seam (fastball), he kind of created this triangle of movement, but it was all hard. So having something slow, kind of making him more three-dimensional would benefit him. And I would copy and paste what Robbie did last year, every year and be completely satisfied with that. He’s not satisfied with winning just one Cy Young, he’s not satisfied with how that year went even though it was very productive.”

With his fastball velocity down a mile and a half last season, Ray also changed up his workout routine. Woodworth believes an increase in velocity could be in play as well.

Mariners notes

• Also scheduled to pitch Wednesday for the Mariners: Matt Brash, Matt Festa, Emerson Hancock and Chris Clarke.

• With Team Italy playing its games in Taiwan, Festa will leave for the World Baseball Classic on Thursday. The other Mariners players in the WBC are expected to leave March 5-6.

• Logan Gilbert will make his Cactus League debut Thursday against the Padres.

More from Shannon Drayer: Mariners’ plan to get even more out of Luis Castillo

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