Mar 2, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero (right) is congratulated by third baseman Vinnie Catricala (72) after hitting a two run home run during the fifth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

FIRST CACTUS LEAGUE GAME!

Well, A) I thought I’d have the first original thoughts on the first non-consequental game of the year. But I guess Bryant had be all tricky and slide in his pre-game thoughts yesterday to be all “on top” and total steal my thunder. Whatever… I can do the game notes. Suck it, Fro.

B) I had thought I’d throw up these notes about 12 hours ago. But, I didn’t. So you can read Jeff Sullivan first and then read my failed attempt and different opinion.

The first thing that we have to realize is, short of Jesus Montero, you can’t point to anyone that started this game and say they are certain to start the season on the major league roster. In way that’s cool in a, “position battles!” sort-of-way. It pushes players to not just be good but to be great.

Let’s face it, as has been wisely pointed out by a few different people, most of the players compared to the average person (e.g. someone like you or I, that’s assuming that you don’t play professional  baseball and if that is the case why are you reading this crap?)  is an amazing athlete. But as is pointed, I see it most commonly mentioned among basketball athletes, good players push other good players to be better than what they are. It’s part of competition!

Let’s hope that someone like Darren Ford or Trayvon Robinson can push Michael Saunders either into being a major league quality regular or off a cliff. Either way I’m cool with the scenario.

Speaking of Saunders, Larry Stone refered to him on twitter as the current leading candidate to replace Franklin Gutierrez in center to start the year. He hit a home run and obviously that makes everything he did out there seem great. But, he did strike out and to put it more aptly, he swung and missed three times. Just from my point of view that’s more of a concern that how many home runs he hits.

I realize it’s not about the home runs so much as driving the ball with emphasis. Something that’s been absent from his major league game. But it’s not like he even went the other way with the pitch. Which is even more important than driving balls, showing he has the ability to go the other way. It’s not like Graham Godfrey is a major league quality pitcher. He’s got all of 25 innings in the big leagues and is more like

Johermyn Chavez hit a home run. Why aren’t we talking about him, more? Carlos Peguero? Luis Rodriguez? We see what we want to see. But it’s important that we look beyond that one good occurrence and think about all the situations in proper context.

As for Blake Beavan, the guy produced a 3.86 ERA in nearly a complete game, falling just 20 outs short. Get excited because the gauntlet has been dropped, and Hector Noesi and Kevin Millwood are going to have to pull out all the stops to catch up.

As for the other pitchers, no offense to them, but I could care less about Matt Fox, Oliver Perez and Sean Henn. Non of which will make the team. So what they did out there is really at this point, none of my concern. It sounds cold, but I’ve got a busy schedule and I don’t waste my time… at least on those guys.

The guys I care about: Shawn Kelley, Steve Delabar, Chance Ruffin and I guess you could throw Cesar Jimenez in there too. The problem is none of these guys did any thing extra ordinary. Ruffin walked a person, Jimenez struck out two (but also gave up two runs) and Delabar while striking out a person also gave up a home run.

It’s not anything to write home about and ultimately this game won’t be remembered by anyone outside of maybe those that attended the game.

Speaking of which, our own, Bryant Bartlett, will be doing the game notes tonight as he will be in attendance for this afternoons game. I hate him.

Last little thing of note was the multiple balls that Jesus Montero took on the chin. Insert joke here. It’s of light note because as a catcher you take a lot of  bumps and bruises. This is part of the concern of sticking Montero behind the plate. He’s going to get hurt. People in his position do. It’s inevitable.  The thing that the Mariners have to decide is whether they are prepared to put him in that position.

I think it’s going to take one more of these situations to happen before people (and the media) throw a 2 year old like tantrum and we don’t see Montero behind the plate. Only problem I have with that is that means that Olivo is more than likely primed to get those starts behind the plate and it means that Mike Carp will certainly be out in left rather than in at DH.

I personally think that Montero’s defense isn’t any worse, and is likely better, than anyone else on the roster. It’s very much up for interpretation and opinions at this point.

Anyways… Big gulps, huh. See you later.

Tags: Blake Beavan Carlos Peguero Cesar Jimenez Chance Ruffin Darren Ford Featred Jesus Montero Johermyn Chavez Michael Saunders Mike Carp Shawn Kelley Steve Delabar

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