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Mariners notebook: Big league arms on minor league fields Tuesday

By Shannon Drayer

PEORIA, Ariz., - It was "camp day" at the Mariners complex in Peoria Tuesday. The Mariners minor leaguers played the Mariners minor leaguers in games on the back fields and a number of pitchers got work in those games as well.

Taijaun Walker
3IP* 4H 4R 3ER 2BB 3K 48/36

Brandon Maurer
1IP 1H 0R WP 19/12

Stephen Pryor
1IP 3H 2R 2ER 2K 16/11

Joe Beimel
2/3 IP 3H 2R 13/10

Fernando Rodney
2IP 1H 4K WP 25/19

Walker threw well hitting 97 on the gun and mixing in his curveball for the first time this spring. That pitch was a little hot and cold but will come along with time. Walker will throw in another minor league game on Sunday and is basically on a regular build up plan. He is coming along faster than I thought he would and if his outings are decent and there are no physical setbacks I think we could see him back with the club sooner than we originally thought we would.

Maurer followed and while he threw just one inning he impressed Lloyd McClendon who called his outing "exceptional." The praise didn't stop there as he stated that Maurer had as good stuff as anyone in camp. It is just a matter of putting everything together which is often easier said than done.

"I think we all know he has electric stuff. He has to some way find his inner peace for it all to work for him," he said. "I can't define it for him. He's got to define it himself. I've got mine, I can't tell you about his."

That's one way of putting it. Maurer will have to build up again and then most likely be sent to Tacoma when ready. Missing starts down here are missed opportunities to work with the big league staff which is one of the huge benefits of being in big league camp. Pitching coach Rick Waits is very familiar with Maurer however, and was very excited about his chances coming into camp so there is little question he will remain on the radar.

Pryor looked strong once again and I am beginning to feel optimistic that he can regain some lost velocity. The upper 90's stuff may be a stretch but 95 could be in his reach. His secondary pitches are improving and he has remained healthy which is the most important thing coming off a surgery that only two pitchers have come back from. So far, so good with him. Definitely one of the unexpected (good) surprises this spring.

Pryor was also somewhat responsible for another unexpected (bad) surprise as he threw a pitch that a minor leaguer fouled high into the high sky and landed just over the fence behind third base on my leg. First time I have ever been hit. I don't recommend it. It hurts. A lot. Knew it was coming and lost it in the sun. Not a good feeling. Moving on...

I didn't see Beimel as he threw while we were talking to Walker and Maurer but I did catch Rodney and he looked the best he has looked all spring. What this means coming against minor leaguers I don't know but he was throwing what appeared to be good strikes.

As for tonight's action...

Lineup!

Almonte 8
Miller 6
Romero 9
Smoak 3
Morrison DH
Seager 5
Franklin 4
Ackley 7
Zunino 2

Felix

Notes...Yep. We were a few days ago that Corey Hart would be back today but he is not in the lineup. He hit in the cages earlier today and is scheduled to take batting practice on the field. If all goes well he will get 9 at bats in a minor league game tomorrow and another 9 on Thursday, the off day. When asked if there was a chance Hart could start the season on the DL McClendon answered "I hope not." Brad Miller is starting at shortstop for his 4th straight game, it would appear that competition is over. With Robinson Cano getting the day off Nick Franklin will play second. Mike Zunino turns 23 today and Dan Wilson 45 but as I have told him just about every spring, he looks a year younger each year. It's true. This is Felix's final start of the spring and he hopes to throw between 100 and 110 pitches.

Roster moves...

Per article XX(B) of MLB's collective bargaining agreement today was the deadline for teams to add certain eligible players with minor league contracts to their 25-man roster, grant those players their release or pay the player a $100K retention bonus in order to keep them in the organization with the option of sending them to the minors. The Mariners had two such players, Endy Chavez and Humberto Quintero. The Mariners declined to offer the retention bonus for both and both players became free agents.

Chavez was not a free agent for long as he signed back with the Mariners and is in camp today. Quintero has yet to re-sign but the Mariners most likely would like him back.

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