Mariners notebook: Look for more Hart in the outfield
By Shannon Drayer
PEORIA, Ariz. – After an eventful first week of pitchers and catchers workouts and an entertaining first day of full-squad workouts with the introduction of second baseman Robinson Cano, the Mariners are overdue for a slow news day in spring training. Could Wednesday be the day?
Manager Lloyd McClendon gave out plenty of little news items during his morning media session. On Tuesday we noted that Corey Hart was working out with the outfielders and for the time being that is where he will spend the majority of his time. McClendon said that in a perfect world, best-case scenario, 10 on a scale of one to 10, he would have Hart in the outfield for 145 games.
Obviously, coming off the knee surgery is not a best-case scenario. But so far so good for Hart, who was held out of sliding drills Tuesday as the team tries to bring him along somewhat slowly. McClendon did say that he will get some work at first base later in camp.
Another note from McClendon’s media session: Nick Franklin will get a good look at shortstop. While general manager Jack Zduriencik has said that Franklin will compete with Brad Miller for the position, I think the belief by many was that it was Miller’s position to lose. There is no question the Mariners like what they saw in Miller last year but now there are new eyes on him and Franklin. McClendon said he is coming into this with no preconceived notions and he would like to see both defense and offense from his shortstop.
“You have got to be able to catch the ball. We are looking for a guy who can make all of the plays,” he said. “I’m not looking for flashy play. I am looking for a guy who is very sound fundamentally, makes the plays consistently and provides offense.”
Miller would appear to be the steadier choice but Franklin could provide an additional bat from the right side. I fully expect Miller to be the opening-day shortstop but I would allow for the possibility of surprise at this position.
• It is probably safe to put the Kevin Long/Robinson Cano saga to bed as Kevin Kernan of The New York Post tweets that Cano has put it behind him.
Robinson Cano told me that Kevin Long texted him over those hustle comments. Cano told his old hitting coach, “Don’t worry about it.”
â€” Kevin Kernan (@WheresKernan) February 19, 2014
• Speaking of Twitter, if you are on Twitter (and you should be, follow me @shannondrayer) Felix Hernandez goes up Wednesday against last year’s big winner, the Reds’ Joey Votto, in the Face of MLB contest. Include #FelixHernandez and #FaceofMLB on your tweets to vote for Felix. He is enjoying this, by the way.
• Bullpens will be thrown Wednesday by James Paxton, Randy Wolf, Brandon Maurer, Mark Rogers, Fernando Rodney, Danny Farquhar, Charlie Furbush, Bobby LaFramboise, Zach Miner, Hector Noesi, Yoervis Medina, Jonathan Arias, Logan Bawcom, Stephen Kohlscheen, Carson Smith, Roenis Elias and Ramon Ramirez.
• The final edition of “The Hot Stove League Show” can be heard here. Next week we start “The Cactus League Report” from the Salty Senorita in Peoria.
Off to watch outfield practice.