Good morning from sunny Peoria, Arizona. The morning musings post is back after a “sort of” off day.
The Mariners are back at it today with a Cactus League game at Camelback Ranch. But there will also be a simulated game here at the Mariners’ complex with James Paxton scheduled to start. Paxton is scheduled to throw three innings/45 pitches in a controlled environment. If all goes as planned, he will start in a Cactus League game probably on Sunday, March 22 or the following day. If he stays on schedule, Paxton should get three more starts after today, which would be one less than the rest of the pitchers in the rotation.
I still think that Paxton will slot into the No. 2 spot in the rotation and Hisashi Iwakuma at the No.3 and J.A. Happ at the No. 4 to split up the lefties.
A few other notes from our morning meeting with Lloyd McClendon
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*** Rickie Weeks will start getting reps at first base in the next few days. McClendon said he wasn’t sure if we’ll see him in a game. The Mariners have been very focused on the transition to the outfield. But they want Weeks to be able to play some first base if needed.
*** Lefty Edgar Olmos, who has been sideline with a shoulder impingement, will start playing catch on Monday of next week.
*** The Mariners made a minor roster move, optioning reliever Mayckol Guaipe to Class AAA Tacoma. The M’s now have 50 players in big league camp.
Here’s the probables for the next set of games. Pretty good pitching match-up on Saturday in Mesa with Felix Hernandez and Jon Lester .
David Rollins is quiet and unassuming with a Texas drawl as thick the summer humidity in his hometown of Deberry, Texas, which sits near the Texas-Louisiana state line. He’s been relatively anonymous in the back of the Mariners’ clubhouse where most of the young relievers hand out. But his pitching has done plenty of talking this spring.
So when asked about his shot to make the big league roster out of spring, he gave an answer befitting of a big league player.
“It’s just all about the competition, you know?” he said. “There’s a lot of guys I’m out here competing against. I’m just trying to do the best I can and show them what I can do.”
It was mentioned in fun that his first comment was straight out of the scene in Bull Durham where Crash Davis taught Nuke Laloosh to learn and study his cliches, calling them his friends.
Rollins just laughed and replied: “I just watched that movie yesterday.”
The 25-year-old lefty has made himself a viable candidate to make the Mariners’ out of spring training as the second lefty in the bullpen. He’s made five appearances, pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out six batters.
“It feels like my fastball command has been pretty good right now,” he said. “I’ve been working on my offspeed a lot and it’s still a work in progress on breaking ball.”
Rollins was selected by the Mariners with their pick in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings out of the Astros organization.
“I was in Puerto Rico and had no idea what was going on” he said. “My phone was just blowing up and people tweeting at me. And then my roommate came running over at the time and told me I’d been picked up by the Mariners. I was pretty excited about it.”
It was a surprise to Rollins. He had no idea he was a candidate to be selected. The Astros wanted him to throw in the offseason to continue his transition to a reliever so he went to throw in Puerto Rico, where he made appearances and allowed five runs in 13 innings pitched with 20 strikeouts.
“It’s way different,” he said. “I like it way better than starting. If you have a bad outing, you have a chance to come back and pitch a lot sooner. My velo has picked up a lot since I’ve a reliever.”
The Mariners will play against the Dodgers in the 2015 Civil Rights Game on Jackie Robinson Day on Wednesday, April 15 at Dodger Stadium.
This is the first time that MLB will hold its tribute to civil rights in conjunction with its annual commemoration of Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier on April 15, 1947.
The game will air nationally on ESPN2, with coverage scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
From the press release:
The Civil Rights Game was developed by MLB to pay tribute to the spirit of the civil rights movement and to honor those who embodied the struggle for equal rights for all Americans. This is the first Civil Rights Game hosted by the Dodgers and second one they have played in (2012), while this will be the first overall for the Mariners.
“It is truly an ideal pairing to have the franchise of Jackie Robinson and the city of Los Angeles join our National Pastime in recognizing leaders of the past and present who have done so much for the benefit of our country,” said Baseball Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. “Together with the Dodgers, Major League Baseball will proudly celebrate the civil rights movement, the courageous people like Jackie who contributed to it, and its many lessons that continue to resonate today.”
“We’re proud of the role the Dodgers have played in professional sports history as pioneers of social change since Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947 during the team’s days in Brooklyn,” said Dodger owner Earvin “Magic” Johnson. “From Jackie to Sandy Koufax to Fernando Valenzuela to Hideo Nomo to Chan Ho Park to now Yasiel Puig and Hyun-Jin Ryu, the Dodgers have sought to lead the way and be a model of inclusion in sports and American society as a whole.”
Here’s my story on relieverMark Lowe that I wrote for the off day. He was honest and funny and realistic about his future, his career and coming back to the Mariners. I actually could have written even more on him. I first moved out to the Puget Sound in 2006 and still have memories of Lowe that season. He was just dominating and electric. Kind of makes you feel old to think it’s been that long ago.
*** Here’s a breakdown of the Mariners’ Top 30 prospect by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo. He has Alex Jackson rated as the No. 1 outfielder.
*** The Peoria city council approved funding for more changes for Peoria Stadium for next season.
*** This is from a few days ago, but some good stuff from Tim Brown on Houston’s Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHugh.
Here’s the travel roster for today’s game