Howdy from Arizona! I spent the morning in Peoria at the Mariner’s spring training complex watching the pitchers, catchers, and an assortment of position players practice. Here a couple of things I noticed.
First of all, the players were subdivided into groups during their stretching routines. The first group was the starting rotation, then there was other starters not yet in the rotation, then relievers, then backup relievers, etc. This is important because it gives a look at what the pitching staff looks like as of now.
The starts were Hernandez, Vargas, Iwakuma, Noesi, and Beavan. Kevin Millwood, Oliver Perez, James Paxton, Danny Hultzen, Taijuan Walker, and Charlie Furbush made up the sub- starting rotation group.
The current bullpen looks like Brandon League, Shawn Kelly, Hong- Chih Kuo, George Sherrill, Tom Wilhelmsen, and Shawn Camp.
Currently, the position players at camp are Montro, Olivo, Jaso, Moore, Seager, Ackley, Smoak, Carp, Liddi, Michael Saunders, Trayvon Robinson, Carlos Peguero, and non-roster invitees, Nick Franklin, Vinie Catricala, Guiermo Quiroz, Munenori Kawasaki, and Jesus Sucre.
Here are a couple things to note. I watched Jesus Montero do some catcher drills, and he seemed to struggle. Montero is a BIG guy. I always knew that he was big, but he looks every bit of that 6’3” 235 pound frame. His actions behind the plate were a notch slower than the other catchers he was working with. As advertised, he showed some great power to all fields in batting practice.
Justin Smoak looked good from both sides of the plate, and displayed some excellent power, especially as a lefty.
Brendan Ryan showed some uncharacteristic power by hitting a homerun during batting practice.
On the other hand, Kawasaki struggled during batting practice. Kawasaki also stayed after practice to take some pop-flies in front of a few dozen Japanese media members.
Nick Franklin struggled from the left side of the plate at the beginning of batting practice, but after taking some good looking hacks from the right side, his lefty swing looked better.
Alex Liddi took reps at first base, and Mike Carp spent all of his time at first base despite being listed as an outfielder on the roster.
I continue to give updates of the events down here both here on Sodo Mojo and on my Twitter account, @JCondreay.