Mariners notebook: Pitchers ready to face hitters for the first time
Live BP kicks off today as hitters will face pitchers (as opposed to coaches) for the first time this spring. The following pitchers fare scheduled to throw today:
Justin De Fratus
Each pitcher will throw for 8 minutes and use all of his pitches. While the excitement may be in seeing the hitters swing the bat, this work is more for the pitchers to get used to seeing a batter in the batters box. Hitters will not know what is coming and can choose to swing or just track. In the past better hitters would usually just track pitches in their first live BP sessions but in recent years I have seen more and more swings. It will be interesting to see how the Mariners hitters approach this. Scott Servais will leave that up to the individuals. For the record, when he played he was a guy who took his hacks.
“I actually got in there and hit because I wasn’t a good hitter and I took all the swings I could,” he said. “It was easier for me because I was into what the pitchers had so I had a better feel for what was coming, so I tried to make myself look better and hopefully the GM was walking around back in the day.”
On that note, the GM has been walking around quite a bit during the early days of spring training. Jerry Dipoto has been seen on the field each day keeping close watch on the team he has put together and often talking with Servais. Also on the field quite a bit has been farm director Andy McKay who has been in uniform and assisting with drills. There have been plenty of eyes on the work that is taking place which is not out of the ordinary in the least, just interesting to watch.
A few notes before I head to the field.
-Servais talked a little bit about the rule changes that MLB and MLBPA announced Thursday. He is not terribly concerned about the 30 second mound visit rule.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal,” he said. “The ump will come up and try to break it up, let’s move on. From what I understand the clock will start when the manager or pitching coach leaves the dugout.”
This won’t be a change for Servais because his first mound visit of the season will be his first mound visit ever. He laughed when asked what his style is going to the mound, will he sprint, saunter, reach for the lineup card in his back pocket or do anything that we have seen others do before, because he simply doesn’t know. It will be one of the many firsts for him.
The other rule change, the slide into second, will be a significant change both for the baserunners and middle infielders. Servais planned to start addressing this with his players today.
“It’s more like the college rule, you have to slide in a direct path to the base,” he pointed out. “If you slide over the base that’s not a good thing, you will be called out as will the batter. That’s a big deal.
“The difference in the ability to review the neighborhood play, I will be curious to see how that affects pace of play because I believe a lot of managers will be challenging that play.”
Of more concern will be safety of the players. Dangerous?
“It can be,” he said. “MLB makes the rules, we will play by them.”
“We have got to talk about it, we have got to re-teach it to our players, and let them know it’s going to be important. A veteran player is used to doing it a certain way so he’s going to have to hang in there a little longer.”
-We have a name change of sorts. Earlier in camp we were told that Dae Ho Lee’s name was not hyphenated. He has had a change of heart and decided to go with the hyphen in his first name so he is back to Dae-Ho Lee. Should he make the team he will be the second hyphenated player to play for the Mariners with Ryan Rowland-Smith being the first.
-After being sidelined for a few days with a sore back and hamstring Joaquin Benoit is scheduled to throw his first bullpen.