Good morning from sunny Peoria, Arizona. It’s going to be a warm one today.
James Paxton will pitch in his first Cactus League game of the spring. Paxton is scheduled to throw four innings or 60 pitches today against the Rangers.
Prior to this, Paxton’s only other game action came in an intrasquad game five days ago where he threw about 45 pitches. He will start today and then again on Friday against the Royals in Surprise.
Here’s the pitching probables for the next six games. Reminder: Hisashi Iwakuma will pitch in a simulated game on Monday instead of facing the AL West rival Angels in Tempe.
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As was mentioned yesterday, the Mariners seem to be setting up a rotation with Paxton as the No. 2 starter splitting up right-handers Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma and having J.A. Happ as the No. 4 starter.
McClendon was asked if he prefers to go right-left-right in his rotation.
“If they are good? Yeah.” he said. I don’t like it just to have it.”
Told he has candidates to have it, he replied: “I have real good candidates to have it.”
*** Kyle Seager is back in the lineup today after being scratched from Saturday’s lineup with a stiffness in his side/oblique area.
“He’s in the lineup today,” McClendon said. “Everything checked out fine. I just didn’t want to take a chance. I’ve been assured that everything is fine with him.”
*** Rickie Weeks didn’t bring a first base glove to spring training, but he has one now. Weeks has started working out at first base to go along with his conversion to the outfield. He’s taking ground balls there and working with infield coach Chris Woodward.
“It’s an adjustment,” Weeks said. “The average fans sees you just catching throws from infielders. But you have to worry about cutoffs, a man on first base, turning double plays and there are certain things you have to work on. You just have to try get your work in. Each position you go to, there is something different needed. And you have to work on those aspects.”
McClendon wasn’t certain when/if Weeks will get into a game at first base this spring. Right now, Weeks is being groomed as more of an emergency first baseman to play if needed. Left fielder Dustin Ackley, who has played in 12 big league games at first and played there his last season of college, is also working out there to play if needed. Per McClendon, Willie Bloomquist is the back-up to Logan Morrison “as we speak now.”
Is Weeks ready to go if needed?
“I don’t know,” he said. “You just go out there and play. I’m not really scared about anything. It’s just getting out there and playing the game. It’s just the small stuff. For the most part, I’ve seen what’s going on having played infield my whole career. It wouldn’t be a shock to me.”
Big thanks to Riverin’ Bob Condotta for helping the past few days and allowing me to catch my breath a little bit. Here’s our notebook that we combined to write about. Bob wrote the top part about Dustin Ackley and his continued work in trying to get more comfortable on defense in the outfield. I wrote about Felix Hernandez’s start in Mesa.
Lloyd McClendon thinks this team could score 700 runs this season, while EPSN 710’s Jim Moore thinks it can hit 200 home runs. I think the 700 runs might be slightly more important. His predictions of one homer each for Willie Bloomquist and Jesus Sucre did make me laugh.
Buster Olney picked the Mariners to be in the World Series with the Pirates
Here’s the reserves listed for today’s game
Official game notes