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Good morning from a once again sunny Peoria, Arizona. The rain is gone, warm weather is forecasted and tomorrow’s Cactus League lid lifter will go on as scheduled.

Taijuan Walker will get the start in that game and throw roughly two innings or 25ish pitches.

Also scheduled to pitch: Sam Gaviglio, Mike Kickham, David Rollins, Rafael Perez, Carson Smith and Dominic Leone.

Manager Lloyd McClendon said he’s finalizing a few details on the lineup and then will likely give it to us later today. So prepare your kudos and complaints.

A reminder that the games on Wednesday and Thursday will be televised live on ROOT sports.

A few workout notes: 

Today’s workout will be shorter with Cactus League games opening soon.

James Paxton will play catch out to 120 feet today. McClendon said that Paxton felt “fantastic” after playing catch.

Danny Hultzen will throw his first live batting session of the spring. He’s the only pitcher that will step on a mound today.

Here’s a reminder of the upcoming probables …



From today’s Seattle Times and the Mariners’ “river” of quality information, I wrote about J.A. Happ’s goal of improving his change-up this season and how important it could be for his overall success. Obviously any pitch that runs down and away from right-handers is important. Happ’s change-up usage has dwindled in the past because it’s been a mediocre pitch. So while his velocity on his fastball increased, his command of his change-up was gone.

Happ is experimenting with two change-up grips right now – the circle change grip used by Felix Hernandez and most pitchers and the modified splitfinger fastball grip used by Taijuan Walker. Happ used that splitfinger grip last season.

Mike Zunino said today that one grip hasn’t necessarily been better than the other.

“He still gets that same downward sinking action with both,” Zunino said.

It could be case where Happ uses both for a while and depending on how he feels any given day with the pitches.

*** Larry Stone wrote about Dustin Ackley and this upcoming season. Ackley understands the decision to be platooned with Rickie Weeks and why McClendon is making it.

There was this comment:

“I think it’s something that’s up to us,’’ Ackley said of the left-field job share. “Mac has really stressed, you have to perform at this level. If I perform and help the team the way I know I can, I’m going to get the at-bats I want, and I’m going to get the playing time I want.”

*** Here’s the daily blog post from the Mariners baseball info staff.

*** The Arizona Republic has an eating guide to all the Cactus League stadiums. Based on past dining choices, I love the gyros at Peoria while I think Greg Johns ate the teriyaki bowl every home game. Also the pizza and tacos at Salt River Fields are good. Also the brats in Maryvale are a good choice. This is why my pants don’t fit well.

Here’s the podcast of my appearance with Mitch Levy earlier this morning.

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