Mariners notebook: Let’s get this thing started
PEORIA, Ariz. – If you haven’t heard, the Mariners are playing baseball today. Their Cactus League opener gets underway at 1:10 p.m. local time, 12:10 in Seattle. The voices of Rick Rizzs and Aaron Goldsmith can be heard on the broadcast on 710 ESPN. Hello everybody …
Jarrod Dyson, 7
Jean Segura, 6
Robinson Cano, 4
Nelson Cruz, DH
Kyle Seager, 5
Mitch Haniger, 9
Daniel Vogelbach, 3
Mike Zunino, 2
Leonys Martin, 8
Ariel Miranda, LHP
Yes, if things go according to plan for the Mariners, we could see a lot of this lineup this year, even against lefties as Dyson, who has been mainly a platoon player, will get a look against southpaws.
We could see rookies bat back-to-back as well. Haniger and Vogelbach will be watched closely and it is important to remember that the numbers this spring – any spring for that matter – will mean little. Numbers are at the bottom of items on a list of many that are taken into consideration when evaluating players during the spring. How’s the swing, how’s the approach, how are they handling the situation are more important to watch early. Later in spring I feel better about a player if you see things are clicking at the plate, but that still is no guarantee either way.
These games will help them get ready, but it is a different game opening day.
• The starters most likely will get two at-bats today but Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz could get three as they will be looking for extra at-bats to help get ready for the World Baseball Classic. Early in spring, regulars tend to play every other day, but Cano and Cruz most likely will play tomorrow.
• Taylor Motter, who is in the competition for the utility spot, has been held out of drills the last few days because of a sore back. The hope is he can get into games early next week. Manager Scott Servais is interested to see how he handles shortstop, the position he played in college.
• Hisashi Iwakuma and James Paxton are not on the board for a start as of yet but with the longer spring training and earlier start of games, this is not a surprise. They are not behind, rather right on schedule for the start of the regular season. Both are scheduled for live batting-practice sessions today.
• Servais was pleased with what he saw in the situational game yesterday.
“I loved the back and forth,” he said of the interaction with the players. “You can see it when I am throwing out there how nervous some of these kids are, ‘Everybody’s watching, everybody’s on me.’ That’s good. That’s what we are hoping to get out of it.”
As for the execution, with a theme of camp being the importance of little things, Servais believes that was reinforced.
“The focus was more of a base running drill, the value of taking an extra base, how much you are penalized for making an out on the bases,” he pointed out. “We have got to be better on our decision making this year. It was good.”