PEORIA, Ariz. — Felix Hernandez threw his first spring session of live batting practice Wednesday and cited his goal as, “Fastball command. And I wanted to throw my breaking balls to see if they still worked.”
“It looked pretty good,” he said.
There weren’t any good swings — and just scant contact — from the collection of minor-league players assigned to face the King on Field 6 about two hours prior to the Cactus League opener against San Diego.
The Mariners opened their spring schedule by presenting a lineup loaded with players not expected to make the big-league club. That prompted a question from Hernandez to the regulars.
“I just asked them, `Why are you guys not in the lineup today?’” he said. “They said, `Because you’re not pitching.’”
NO SPRING PLATOONS
Don’t look for Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon to implement his projected platoons in left field and right field for spring games — i.e., Dustin Ackley (for example) will seeing playing time against left-handed pitchers.
“It’s not going to be a factor for me this spring,” McClendon said. “I want them to see both because there may be times when they’re forced to see them in action in games.
“I won’t limit them, exclusively, to just left-handed or right-handed.”
McClendon previously indicated he intends to use Ackley and converted second baseman Rickie Weeks in left field, and split time in right field between Seth Smith and Justin Ruggiano.
Ackley reports his wife, Justine, and infant son, Parson, arrived Tuesday night in Peoria. Ackley said, “Both are healthy and doing fine.”
The couple was en route to camp from their home in Michigan when Justine went into labor on Feb. 19 near Oklahoma City. Parson Bennett Ackley, the couple’s first child, arrived six weeks premature.
While healthy, the infant required time on a respirator and in an incubator. Ackley remained in Oklahoma City until the situation stabilized before continuing to camp.
The Mariners' lineup for their Cactus League opener Thursday against San Diego had a definite Triple-A Tacoma flavor.
McClendon's explanation on not playing many (any?) of his projected regulars: "We’ll pace them. They’ll play (Thursday). Then they’ll probably have a day off (Friday), and we’ll just continue to build.”
Texas asked Major League Baseball to rescind its Feb. 24 waiver claim of lefty reliever Edgar Olmos from the Mariners after an examination revealed a sore shoulder.
The Mariners had acquired Olmos, 24, in a Nov. 24, 2014 waiver claim from Miami. He spent last year at Double-A Jacksonville and Triple-A New Orleans.
The Mariners rate as 8/5 co-favorites with the Los Angeles Angels to win the American League West Division in the latest odds posted by www.bovada.lv, the online gaming site.
Bovada also puts the Mariners at 7/1 to win the AL pennant and at 16/1 to win the World Series.
The full AL West odds: Mariners and Angels at 8/5, Oakland A's at 9/2, Texas Rangers at 6/1 and Houston Astros at 16/1.
The top five for the AL pennant: Boston Red Sox at 11/2, Angels at 6/1, Mariners at 7/1, Chicago White Sox at 15/2 and Detroit Tigers at 8/1.
The Washington Nationals have the best odds at winning at the World Series at 7/1, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers at 17/2, Red Sox at 10/1 and St. Louis Cardinals at 12/1. Four clubs are listed at 14/1: Chicago Cubs, Angels, San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants.
The Mariners are one of three clubs listed at 16/1. The others are the White Sox and Tigers.