PEORIA, Ariz. — And now for a commercial announcement.
It’s always a spring highlight when the Mariners unveil their new television commercials. That happened Wednesday, and the result was predictably charming.
There are four spots:
***K-SWAG: Third baseman Kyle Seager isn’t sure about a new marketing program, but teammates Charlie Furbush and Hisashi Iwakuma love the makeover. But Taijuan Walker prefers the “old school” Seager.
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***MIRROR IMAGES: Remember the classic Marx Brothers sketch where Groucho and Harpo mimic one another in Duck Soup? (Lucille Ball reprised it years later with Harpo Marx.) Here we see Robinson Cano’s movements replicated by hitting coach Edgar Martinez.
***CLUBHOUSE QUESTIONS: New teammates Nori Aoki, Wade Miley and Steve Cishek ask Felix Hernandez about what it’s like to be the King. Hernandez insists he’s a regular guy.
***NELLIE’S AUTO GLASS: This is a commercial within a commercial. Nelson Cruz operates an auto-glass repair service for cars damaged by his towering home runs.
All four commercials were shot on location last month on the Mariners’ side of the Peoria Sports Complex and began airing Wednesday during Root Sports’ telecast of the game against San Francisco at Peoria Stadium.
The advertising campaign was created by Seattle-base Copacino and Fujikado, the Mariners’ long-time advertising agency.
DE FRATUS RELEASED
Even in a bullpen thinned by injuries, the Mariners decided Wednesday they didn’t need right-handed reliever Justin De Fratus. He was released prior to Wednesday’s game against San Francisco.
"The stuff wasn’t quite what it had been," manager Scott Servais said. "The sharpness, crispness to it. I do think there is a chance that we could re-sign Justin and bring him back into the organization.
"I know he’s going to look at his options and if he does get claimed. But we certainly would like to have him back."
By releasing De Fratus on Wednesday, the Mariners limited their financial obligation to roughly one-sixth (30/183rds) of his $750,000 salary — about $123,000.
Players on non-guaranteed contracts get 30 days of their salary as termination pay if released more than 15 days before the start of the season. They get 45 days — roughly one-fourth — if released 15 or fewer days before the season starts.
For De Fratus, the difference amounted to about $64,000. All contracts become fully guaranteed once the season starts.
The Mariners opted to release De Fratus, 28, even though their bullpen is already short-handed from injuries to right-handers Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook. Both are battling strained latissimus dorsi muscles in their back.
Scribner is expected to open the season on the disabled list, and Cook won’t return for at least two months after being placed on the 60-day disabled list.
Released De Fratus appears to further solidify the chance for Joel Peralta and Tony Zych to make the club. It also boosts the chances for pitchers such as Blake Parker, Cody Martin, Mayckol Guaipe and Casey Coleman.
De Fratus gave up three runs and six hits in six innings over four spring appearances. He signed with the Mariners as a free agent on Dec. 2 in a bid to rebound from a disappointing season in Philadelphia.
Catcher Steve Clevenger returned to camp Wednesday after battling a fever that reached 102.5 degrees on Sunday evening, but first baseman Adam Lind was scratched from Wednesday’s game because of similar symptoms.
Bench coach Tim Bogar is also among the afflicted.
“We’ve got a little bug going through the clubhouse, “Servais said. “It’s a flu-type situation. Our bench coach is out today, too. He got it (Tuesday), and he’s not feeling well. Clevenger is just coming off it.
Clevenger admitted he’s still feeling weak, and he eased back into workouts; he was not on the roster for Wednesday’s game against he Giants.
“I started to feel something after the (Saturday) night game,” he said. “Then when I went home after Sunday’s game, it was a lot worse. I was running a fever, had the shakes and lost a lot of weight.”
Formers Mariners lefty reliever Rob Rasmussen is retiring in order to pursue a business degree. He was acquired by the Los Angeles Angels through a Dec. 23 waiver claim after being designated for assignment.
Rasmussen, 26, was 2-1 with a 10.67 ERA last season in 19 games after being obtained in a July 31 deal that sent reliever Mark Lowe to Toronto. Rasmussen appeared in four games this spring for the Angels.
First baseman Kyle Petty was chosen Wednesday as the most valuable player on the Adelaide Bite in the Australian Baseball League after batting .317 with 14 homers and 44 RBIs in 55 games.
Petty, 25, seems likely to return this season to Hi-A Bakersfield, where he batted .255 last season with nine homers and 46 RBIs in 96 games.
Efren Navarro and Stefen Romero project as the first basemen at Triple-A Tacoma, while D.J. Peterson should get most of the playing time at Double-A Jackson.
Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush stretched out to play long toss during the morning workout after testing his shoulder Tuesday by playing catch. He was shut down last weekend because of lingering shoulder tightness in his recovery from biceps tendinitis and a small tear in his rotator cuff…outfielder Seth Smith remains day-to-day after experience some tightness in his left groin during Monday’s split-squad game against Arizona in Scottsdale.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners