Greetings from Hi Corbett Field (pictured above), spring training home of the Colorado Rockies (well for this last year). Next season the Rockies will move to Scottsdale next season, along with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who train at near-by Tucson Electric Park. That means there will no longer be major league spring training in Tucson next season. It will be the first time since 1947.
It's too bad. Tucson is a great city, and both parks are nice little stadiums with plenty of fan support. But teams were tired of driving the two hours to play games - something which is common in the Grapefruit League in Florida. Having the D'Backs and Rockies in Scottsdale will be extremely convenient, but Tucson will be missing out.
There is some talk that four Japanese professional teams may actually come to Tucson to train here next season. Those four teams would like to play Major League teams in exhibition games.
As for the game today ... guys like Franklin Gutierrez, Ichiro, Chone Figgins, Ken Griffey Jr., Casey Kotchman all stayed back in Peoria. With so many bench guys playing, it means the bench is filled with minor leaguers, including guys like Mario Martinez, Kyle Seager, Carlos Peguero, Johermyn Chavez and Carlos Triunfel.
Top of 1st
The Mariners will face starter Ubaldo Jimenez , who's got some nasty stuff. Eric Byrnes - a one time Rockie - got a nice hand from the Rockies crowd, but he grounds out weakly. Jimenez easily dispatches of Josh Wilson and gets Milton Bradley to fly out on the first pitch.
Bottom of 1st
Felix comes out throwing pretty well, but gives up an infield single to Dexter Fowler to start the game. The ball was a slow chopper to first, and Hernandez was a little late to cover and first baseman Ryan Garko also hesitated not wanting to throw ahead of Felix. Next hitter Seth Smith apparently hits an easy double play to first, but shortstop Josh Wilson dropped the ball on the transfer allowing Smith to be safe at first. Then with a 3-2 count to Todd Helton, Felix tries a pick off move to first that hits off of Garko's glove allowing Smith to advance to second - give Garko an error on the play. Hernandez then walks Helton.
Troy Tulowitzki drives a ball to the warning track at about 390 feet, to make the catch. Hawpe hits a slow roller that Woodward barehands and flips to first get the third out.
Felix threw 22 pitches with 12 strikes.
Top of 2nd
Garko is hit by a pitch to start the inning. It looks as though the hot-hitting Matt Tuiasosopo has a sure double as he rips a line drive down the third base line. But Rockies third baseman Melvin Mora makes a leaping grab to rob Tui of an extra base hit. Ryan Langerhans lines out and Adam Moore strikes out on hard heat from Jimenez.
Bottom of 2nd
Well, the second inning wasn't dull. Felix gave up hits to Melvin Mora and Chris Iannetta to start the game. He then struck out Clint Barmes looking. That brought up pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who was supposed to bunt off of Hernandez. Felix fired a fastball by him, and then Jimenez fouled two bunts off. Think about trying to square around and staring down Felix as he throws 95-plus BBs at you. Hernandez then walked Fowler, but got Smith to ground out.
He's at 42 pitches with 24 strikes. But it looks as though he will come out for the third inning.
Top of 3rd
Felix is going to start the third inning because he's swinging a bat int he on-deck circle. Chris Woodward draws a lead off walk, bringing up Felix. It seemed logical for a bunt, but he never got a sign for it... or any signs for that matter.
He watched a strike, then fouled a pitch off that he was so far behind on it looked as though he pulled it out of the catcher's glove, he then struck out on a high fastball. As we walked back to to the dugout, Rockies 3rd baseman Melvin Mora was giving him a hard time. Perhaps it was the bat that Felix was using - a Jose Vidro model. To be fair, it was the same bat he hit the grand slam with.
Byrnes popped out and Byrnes grounded out to end the inning.
Bottom of 3rd
Felix gets Todd Helton to ground out, but then is almost Charlie Brown'ed off the mound as Tulowitzki rips a line drive back up the box that knocks Hernandez as he tried to get out of the way. Hernandez then came back and struck out Brad Hawpe and his day was done.
Of course, as always, he shook his head when he saw Wak coming out to take him out of the game. Hernandez threw 53 pitches, 32 were strikes. He pitched 2 2/3, allowing four hits, no runs, striking out three and walking two. Mike Koplove came in and got the last out of the inning.
Bottom of 4th
Jason Vargas is in for the Mariners. He gives up a one-out single to Clint Barmes, but then picked him off. For two quick outs, but then he gave up a single to the pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez. He then walked Dexter Fowler and Chris Woodward booted a groundball at second to allow Jimenez to score. Vargas gets out by getting Todd Helton to ground out.
Top of 5th
Matt Belisle gets through the inning 1-2-3
Ok we talked to Felix Hernandez on his first Cactus League this season.
"I feel kind of okay for me," Hernandez said. "I was not happy with my performance. I gave up four hits and I didn’t like that. But I feel pretty good and that’s all I was looking for."
Hernandez called his outing "Okay for me."
Did he want to come out of the game"
"No, no, I told Wak, 'Come on Wak, again?'" Hernandez said. "I told him just give me one more batter. He said, 'Get out of here.'"Top of 7th
Well it wasn't a dull inning as Matt Tuiasosopo led off the inning with his second hit in the game -- and at that point the only two for the Mariners. Tui then swiped second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Chris Iannetta. That's another tool that Tui brings that maybe Hannahan doesn't have - a little speed.
Adam Moore then walked. Chris Woodward drove in Tui with a double off the wall, on the play Moore was heading for third and dove head first into the bag. Like yesterday with Eric Byrnes, Moore didn't get his hands out in front to bad himself and face planted into the dirt and into third. He stayed on the ground and was later helped off of the field with an apparent cut on his cheek.
The Mariners added another run as Byrnes hit a deep fly to left to score pinch runner Ezequiel Carrera.
Mariners lead 2-1.
Bottom of 7th
Not a fun inning for Brandon League, who gave up two singles to start the inning and then served a monster home run to Ryan Harvey. The ball went out in left-center over the wall at 410.