Updated Mar 1, 2013 - 9:56 am
Mariners lineup plus a look at some pitching
The Mariners get their first look at the Rangers today in a game that will take place in Peoria and that can be heard live on 710 ESPN. On that note, I have received a ton of questions about the broadcast schedule, which if you haven't found already, is located on our Mariners page on 710Sports.com.
By the way, I'm here! Officially here! The cactus on right the proves it! With the exception of an off day here and there I will be bringing you much more coverage of spring training than we have had the past two weeks.
This morning was my first morning in the clubhouse and yes, it does have a different feel. Definitely more of a buzz as opposed to the quiet of last year, which I think mostly had to do with the number of young players in camp. The younger guys appear much more comfortable and the vets have the look of, "let's get this thing going already." All good.
On to the lineups. Like he has in past years, Eric Wedge is starting slow with the regulars who play a day and then have a game or two off. This will ramp up later in camp and eventually he will have them playing, but for now we have a mix of regulars and guys who are getting looks.
James Paxton makes his first start and Kelly Shoppach will be catching him for the first time. Shoppach told me this morning that he has caught just about every pitcher in a bullpen or BP session but somehow he missed Paxton.
Following Paxton will be Brandon Maurer, the guy who has turned "The Big 3" into "Quatro." Maurer, the Southern League Most Outstanding Pitcher in 2012, came to the organization straight from high school in 2008. He basically has developed in the organization and took his biggest step forward last year after devoting the previous offseason to getting into the condition he needed to in order to best stay healthy (he has had a series of small injuries throughout his career) and pitch a full minor-league season. He has four pitches with a good amount of polish.
Also pitching are a couple of names worth keeping an eye on in Andrew Carraway and Anthony Fernandez. Carraway's name is one you hear every now and then when organizational people talk about pitchers who could be close to ready. He is a command guy who knows how to pitch.
"He's not a velocity type pitcher but with his command and ability to use his secondary pitches, he's really beyond his experience," said pitching coach Carl Willis. "He knows how to pitch and he knows how to get hitters out."
As for Fernandez, his secondary pitches are a work in progress but there are reasons he is on the 40-man roster.
"A left-handed strike thrower with a plus changeup and the ability and confidence to throw the changeup in any situation," described Willis. "His breaking ball needs to improve but he's a young kid in his first camp and he is doing everything the right way."
Finally, the Rangers lineup:
Of note: Andrus is back after being scratched from yesterday's lineup due to pain from a tattoo. Ah spring.
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