Updated Feb 19, 2013 - 9:52 am
Monday news and notes
Nope, still not down in Arizona yet, but some observations, news, notes and other things to pass on.
I am enjoying the pictures and videos that are coming from Peoria. With Larry LaRue no longer on the beat I think Greg Johns of MLB.com is taking the distinction of being the best writer/photographer in the group. I doubt Larry, who is a truly gifted photographer, will ever be matched, but Greg is getting some great shots. He has nothing to worry about when I get down there. I am a horrible photographer.
The early buzz in camp has been about the power. How the team looks bigger and stronger and how Michael Morse has been absolutely crushing balls in batting practice. A few things here: Two years ago I devoted the better part of a day early in spring training to document just how much bigger this club had become. Turns out it didn't amount to much on the field. It is great to look the part but tough to put much stock in that alone.
The same can be said of batting practice, and the reporters have been careful to point out that while impressive, it is still just batting practice. They are hitting off coaches. I completely agree, but what I would point out is that the batting practice power displays once the season began last year were for the most part nonexistent. I can remember multiple hitting groups failing to hit a ball over the wall. I remember an entire batting practice in Oakland before the break that was particularly alarming.
I have to believe this is progress and reserve the right to be optimistic about this development. I also will be careful that I park the rental car far away from the fences.
Moving on. A little bit of a stir was made this afternoon about Eric Wedge saying that he sees Justin Smoak as the primary first baseman. This is actually is consistent with what Wedge has been saying for the better part of the winter. Kendrys Morales will be the primary DH. Bottom line is, they haven't given up on Smoak and they want to keep Morales healthy so to start the season, barring disaster, it will be Smoak at first for the majority of starts and Morales at DH.
Carp on the clock. There have been various reports this winter of teams that had interest in Mike Carp and according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Twins, Astros and Red Sox still are considering dealing for him. The Brewers could join that group as well after losing Mat Gamel to a knee injury earlier Monday. The Mariners have until Thursday to get a deal done after DFA'ing him last Tuesday.
Ready for their closeups? Tuesday will be a busy day for the club as it is photo day. Stations will be set up where the players will have pictures taken for baseball cards and where they will be filmed for a lot of the Q & A type things you see on the big board during the year. The Mariners commercial shoots will also get underway.
Away from camp, far away, in Florida, Ichiro reported to Yankees spring training. There is no state-of-the-Ichiro address for us this year but I do have a picture to pass on. Check out the link. We never saw that hairstyle in Seattle and the shoe/belt/bag combination is somewhat concerning. I am sure he will keep things interesting in New York.
Last note for you is of the programming variety. Tuesday will be the last "Hot Stove League Show". Starting next week it shifts to the "Cactus League Report", which will be taped at the Salty Senorita in Peoria every Monday night for the remainder of spring training. The broadcasts can be heard on 710 ESPN, 710Sports.com and Mariners.com at 7 p.m. Pacific each Monday. If you are down in Arizona, by all means stop by and join us. Information about those shows will be available at the spring training complex each Monday.
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