Somewhat chilly weather by Arizona standards greeted Mariners' pitchers and catchers as they reported for their mandatory physicals.
PEORIA, Ariz. — A handful of fans meandered in the open area of the Mariners’ spring training complex between fields, watching a large group of minor-league position players working on defense. Outfielders shagged fly balls, infielders worked on double plays and catchers practiced pitch-framing in the bullpen area. The Mariners have had a group of 50-plus minor-leaguers working out almost daily for the past three weeks as part of a minicamp.
The sun was out, and the sky was cloudless. But the 20 or so fans were all wearing coats or sweatshirts. Perhaps only one was wearing shorts. They got no glimpses of major-leaguers Felix Hernandez, Yusei Kikuchi or Marco Gonzales.
“It’s cold out here,” one fan muttered to another.
“It’s the wind,” another said.
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Folks back in the Puget Sound area might have a few words for that gentleman. As “snow-palooza” blankets the Northwest, they’d be in tank tops for this sort of weather. But for Arizona, temperatures in the high 40s and low 50s with a bit of a breeze is considered chilly or even “cold.”
While there is a romance to the pitchers-and-catchers report date, which is often cited on gray, gloomy days in January, the actual day is largely uneventful. The pitchers and catchers that are invited to spring training, show up, take the Mariners’ exhaustive and extensive physical — the vicious cardiac stress test is no longer used — and then go home for the day. It’s a day that lockers are prepared, boxes of shoes and gear are opened and inspected, and conversations and introductions are the main activity.
The real action will be Tuesday morning with the first workout, which starts at 11 a.m. following a morning meeting at 10.
There are plenty of new faces in camp.
“I thought there was a lot with the new faces the first year I got here,” manager Scott Servais said. “But with the new coaches and the new players, I’m so happy when they come up and introduce themselves to me. I’ve been studying mugshots of these guys to try and get a feel. It will take a few days. But I’m excited to be down here. It’s going to be a little different camp this year. There’s going to be a lot of educating this year.”
Of the 67 invited players, 32 were not with the organization last season. Throw in the Mariners’ minor leaguers on non-roster invites in their first spring training, and the number of new faces increases. Only 19 players return from last season’s 40-man roster.
“I started to tally it up,” he said. “There’s not many that are back, especially when you go back over the last couple of years with the amount of turnover we’ve had. I’m in the process in the putting of number together. It’s well over half. I think 18 of the 34 pitchers are new. Name tags would be good, mandatory wear your BP (batting practice) jersey with your name on the back would help. But I think the coaches need to wear them, too.”
The Mariners have 34 pitchers in camp under the direction of new pitching coach Paul Davis. Seattle will have seven catchers in camp and could possibly add another in the coming weeks via free agency. Besides Davis, Perry Hill (first base/infield coach), Tim Laker (hitting coach), Jarred Sandberg (MLB field coordinator) are also new to the staff.
Position players report Friday for physicals, and the first full-squad workout is Saturday.
Servais confirmed that reliever Anthony Swarzak will still be behind most pitchers in their respective throwing programs. Swarzak felt some minor discomfort in some offseason throwing sessions. The Mariners decided to slow his progression.
Here’s the full spring-training roster by position:
|79||ANDERSON, Jack *||RHP|
|64||CAVANERIO, Jorgan *||RHP|
|68||CRISMATT, Nabil *||RHP|
|61||DANISH, Tyler *||RHP|
|62||DUNN, Justin *||RHP|
|58||GARTON, Ryan *||RHP|
|81||LEYER, Robin *||RHP|
|80||MCKAY, David *||RHP|
|44||POVSE, Max *||RHP|
|82||SCOTT, Tayler *||RHP|
|57||MILONE, Tommy *||LHP|
|69||TENUTA, Matt *||LHP|
|54||DECARLO, Joe *||C|
|31||LOBATON, Jose *||C|
|71||NEVAREZ, Dean *||C|
|77||NOLA, Austin *||C|
|78||RALEIGH, Cal *||C|
|4||ACKLEY, Dustin *||INF|
|41||CALIXTE, Orlando *||INF|
|70||LOPES, Tim *||INF|
|63||WHITE, Evan *||INF|
|72||FILIA, Eric *||OF|
|73||FRALEY, Jake *||OF|
|75||LEWIS, Kyle *||OF|
|76||POLO, Ttio *||OF|
|51||SUZUKI, Ichiro *||OF|
|74||THOMPSON-WILLIAMS, Dom *||OF|
* denotes non-roster invitee
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