Drayer: Mariners switch things up to promote rest and recovery
Greetings from Peoria on a surprisingly cool and drizzly Arizona Monday morning. For those of you headed this direction, pack sleeves and perhaps a jacket. Temperatures are expected to hover around 60 degrees this week, topping out at 68 on Sunday. Somehow we will survive.
The Mariners’ position players are due to report Monday for physicals, and Tuesday the full squad takes the field together for the first time in 2018. While there aren’t a ton of new faces this year, camp will have a different look with fewer days between the start of camp and games as well as the Mariners’ new focus on rest and recovery.
With just three full days of full squad workouts before games begin, rather than jumping straight to more of a regular season pregame routine as we have seen in the past, much of the work on fundamentals will now have to be done on game days.
“We will spend more time on the back fields to get some things we need to get accomplished, base running being one of them,” said manager Scott Servais.
One plus this spring for the position players in particular is with so little turnover this year there is less to teach in the basic fundamental packages. Plenty to practice, however, and that work will be put in.
Servais plans to take a different approach with 12 night games scheduled this spring. In the past, the routine before the handful of night games was limited to taking a rather casual batting practice that often devolved into a home run derby of sorts. This year Servais would like to see some of his guys save those swings.
“The big thing is I want everyone to be fresh on opening day,” Servais said, “instead of we grind them out through spring training and now its like, ‘Thank God we got through spring training, now I can relax and just go play.’ No. You should be looking forward to opening day because your body is in a good spot. Your swing, your timing, how your arm feels, that’s the key on March 29. Everybody feels good physically.”
Injuries may be tough to control but fatigue doesn’t have to be. Rest and recovery will be a focus throughout the season, but it starts in Peoria. Meetings are scheduled later in the morning than in the past and the night games should help put everyone on a more regular season schedule later in the spring.
Seemingly little changes the Mariners hope will make a big difference over the course of 162 games.