PEORIA, Ariz. - It's been a week without major headlines in Eric Wedge's first spring camp with the Seattle Mariners - though he almost wrote one Sunday.
“Jack Wilson is going to take some reps at second base,” Wedge said, “and Brendan Ryan is going to get the bulk of his time at shortstop.”
Stop the presses!
“I want options,” Wedge said. “Ryan will take ground balls at second and third base, Jack will take grounders at short and Josh Wilson, Adam Kennedy and Dustin Ackley will take reps at second base, too.”
Is it possible the Mariners could open the season with Ryan at shortstop and veteran shortstop Jack Wilson at second base?
“It’s possible – but that’s a bit of a reach,” Wedge said.
The issue may be Jack Wilson’s inability the past two seasons to stay healthy. Given that, at the least, the Mariners need someone prepared to step in at shortstop. Ryan can do that and play elsewhere.
Wedge said the promise he made to open spots to competition remains, and that the rest of camp will be all about who plays the best.
Mariners hitters and pitchers will get their first adrenaline rush of camp today when, barring more bad weather, they face one another.
That’s right – live batting practice returns today.
“We’ll have our pitchers on the mound facing hitters for the first time and, after facing coaches for two days, our hitters will see live pitching,” Wedge said.
There’s no argument with the reasoning: exhibition games begin Sunday and, on Friday, the Mariners will play an intrasquad game.
Rain and soggy fields forced the Mariners into a shortened workout Sunday. No bullpen sessions were planned, so hitters took batting practice in the covered cages and pitchers stretched indoors. Everyone played a little catch – cautiously – and called it a day. Turns out, one week into camp, the only invited catcher to work with knuckleball pitcher Charlie Haeger is Miguel Olivo. “I’m taking one for my boys,” Olivo said, pointing down the row where other catchers sat. Adam Moore fist-bumped him. Veteran Jamey Wright on pitchers getting a couple of down days after throwing three times in the bullpen: “It’s a good break, and guys are strong already. The days of pitchers coming to camp and having to work themselves into shape are long gone. Guys come in now ready to throw, and they just get stronger and gain command in camp.” Social media 101: Following the lead of teammates Felix Hernandez and Josh Lueke, Shawn Kelley signed up on Twitter. Two hours later, he had 206 followers. The team begins filming its annual commercials today, starring Wedge and his players.