Sunday is the first full day of minor league workouts in Peoria. The Mariner have had minor leaguers in spring training for a while for a "mini-camp" but today all of their minor leaguers were here to begin full workouts.
The group of 103 minor leaguers on the rosters of Tacoma, Jackson, Clinton and High Desert along with a few other players from major league camp gathered on the main minor league field of the complex.
Director of Minor League development Pedro Grifol led introductions of the front office, minor league coordinators, minor league staffs, support staff and all that are involved with the organization.
Then general manager Jack Zduriencik delivered some words to the players. Here's some of his comments:
- "I said this last year, and I'm going to say it again, we want to make this the best minor league system in all of baseball."
- "You build it with people of character. You build it with people buying in. You build it with talent. You build it with unity."
- "Every single player here wants to be a major league baseball player."
- "You are never going to get back these days. You need to maximize your time. Do not sell yourself short."
- "You are only young once in your life. And you'll never get a chance to do it again."
- "A lot of players get to the big leagues of talent, but a lot more players get to the big leagues because of this (pointing to his heart."
- "We are here for you, so be here for us."
After Zduriencik's speech, the Mariners then handed out championship rings to players from the Tacoma Rainiers and Everett Aqua Sox.
Here's Rainiers manager Daren Brown's ring up close: