Mariners' pitchers and catchers descend on Spring Training

The Mariners kicked off their first workouts of spring training today and the storylines are plenty.
Canada v Seattle Mariners
Canada v Seattle Mariners / John E. Moore III/GettyImages

It's spikes on sidewalks—the pop of the ball in the mitt under the desert sun, the crack of the bat. It's time for redemption stories, roster spot battles, and youth being served in the form of top prospects in their first major league camp. After a long and sometimes frustrating winter, we can finally say spring training is underway.

Almost three dozen Mariners, mainly pitchers and catchers, reported to Peoria today for their physicals. The team and beat reporters like Seattle Times' Ryan Divish leaked video clips of the first spring bullpens with budding ace George Kirby and a healthy Emerson Hancock appearing in the frame, which is excellent news for a Mariner team lacking starting depth.

Storylines on the bump include Bryce Miller's splitter, Bryan Woo's development, and monitoring an intriguing mix of relievers jockeying for what looks like three spots in the pen. Bounceback candidates like Jackson Kowar and redemption stories like Ty Buttrey will be must-follows this spring.

A few exciting storylines are behind the plate this spring, with newcomers Seby Zavala and youngster Blake Hunt joining the fold. The former is likely the front-runner for the backup catcher spot due to his defensive ability and veteran status. As for Hunt, scouts claim he shares many similarities with former Mariner Tom Murphy. The 25-year-old is probably ticketed for Tacoma but will get plenty of play this spring and will be the first one up, barring any catcher-related injuries.

The next date to remember is Tuesday, February 20th, when the first full-squad workouts start. That day will be the first chance to see five critical imports into the manager Scott Servais' lineup. Jorge Polanco, Luke Raley, Luis Urias, Seattle's favorite son, Mitch Haniger, and Mitch Garver are all projected to fill starting roles on the 2024 squad. We should get plenty of opportunities to catch them in Mariner teal this spring.

Hope may spring eternal this season with it all starting today in the Arizona desert. It all depends on whether you're ready to shed the disdain of what was a challenging few months for Mariner fans. Either way, t's time, spring has sprung in Peoria.