It's the first day of full workouts for the Mariners this spring. All 61 players invited to big league camp will be on the field today, which will make the four-field "clover" a pretty busy place.

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Good morning for a very sunny Peoria, Arizona.

It’s the first day of full workouts for the Mariners this spring. All 61 players invited to big league camp will be on the field today, which will make the four-field “clover” a pretty busy place.

“It’s always nice when you get all your players into camp,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I think it’s probably the official start of spring training so to speak. The pitchers and catchers is a grind because you are going through the same thing every day and it gets a little monotonous. But it’s always exciting when you see the position players in camp.”

McClendon will meet with the team as a whole and deliver his annual message about what he expects from them and this season. He wouldn’t give too many details about it.

“I don’t usually share my messages,” he said. “I will share this with you. One thing I will tell my players and I’ve told most of them already is that expectations are very high, and that’s ok. I understand it. But we can’t get caught up in expectations. We’ve got to get prepared to get ready for the grind of a 162 game schedule and it starts today. If you want to be a champion, it doesn’t start in April. It starts in February. And I think they’ll be up for the task.”

Asked about goals, McClendon said he has some in mind without sharing them.

“We all set goals and you always want to reach high,” he said. “And you try to attain those goals, but you also have to be realistic and you have to be fair to expectations. Looking at our club from where we were from last year to this year, the additions that we’ve made to this club, I think we’ve set our goals a little higher. And you hope that you stay healthy and you go out and achieve those goals.”

 


 

Only two pitchers – Tom Wilhelmsen and Danny Hultzen – will throw bullpen sessions today. This will be Wilhelmsen’s first bullpen session of the spring. He was set back a few days because he was in Florida for his arbitration hearing.

The plan is for each pitcher to throw two bullpens and then move to two live batting practice sessions to prepare for Cactus League games.

There will be individual defense work for position groups, some team defense work and then batting practice.

Rickie Weeks will be working in the outfield today. As expected, McClendon said that Weeks will work mostly in left field. We won’t call it a platoon, but if it works out as expected, you’ll likely see Weeks against lefties and Dustin Ackley vs. right-handers. It’s not a front to Ackley.

“I don’t think that was it at all,” McClendon said. “We’re trying to get better and Rickie Weeks is a good player that can help us win ball games. I think the combination of both of those guys out there should produce a very productive left field. If you have a combination of 20-25 home runs and 100 plus RBIs, now you’ve got something.”

Expect to see Justin Ruggiano in center field some this spring and during the season.

“One of things I have to be very cognizant of is making sure I give Austin Jackson the proper amount of rest,” he said. “He will get his rest and Rug will get his time in center field. Jones is a very versatile guy that can play all three outfield spots.”

 


 

Here’s my story on Robinson Cano and his expectations for this season. McClendon was told about Cano’s comment that the Mariners looked like a world champion on paper. But of course, McClendon already knew about them.

“That’s great, but we don’t play the game on paper,” McClendon said. “We play the game on the field.”

As for the trimmed down Cano, McClendon said it was something he discussed with him before the offseason.

“Yeah, that wasn’t by accident,” McClendon said. “That was something we talked about. And he understands and he gets it. As he starts to mature more and gets older and more years on the backside of career, he’s got to take care of himself a little better and play a little lighter. He’s done a fine job of it.”

But Cano gets what it means to a professional. McClendon saw it last season.

“Robbie did a tremendous job for us, on and off the field,” he said. “There’s nothing like leading by example. He went out and got it done. Off the field and in the clubhouse, he showed guys how to prepare, particularly from a mental standpoint. I’ve always said, if you know your opponents, you should have a better chance of being successful. He taught a lot of our young guys what that’s all about.”

 


 

There isn’t any major injury news. Young catcher Steve Baron, who is in big league camp is limited from catching bullpens. Baron just had five stitches removed from his thumb and the cut still opens up when catching. He will start catching them in a few days. Marcus Littlewood, a converted catcher, is now in big league camp and working with the catchers. How did Baron cut his thumb? He was trying to cut apart some frozen hamburgers and the knife slipped.

The Mariners also have a mini-camp going on for top minor leaguers. Alex Jackson (below)  is participating.

Here’s a list of other participants ….

 


 

Here’s my radio hit today with Mitch Levy. My predictions on the starting shortstop (Brad Miller) and the No. 5 starter (Taijuan Walker) are basically guesses. I honestly have no idea who wins those competitions at this point in the season.

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