Mariners Insider Blog

The Venezuelans are back - and so is Jay Buhner

The Seattle Mariners still don't have their full team in camp - and won't until Team Japan plays its final game in the World Baseball Classic.

But they're closer.

Venezuelans Endy Chavez, Jose Lopez, Carlos Silva and Felix Hernandez are back.

For manager Don Wakamatsu, that means Phase Three of camp has begun.

"It was broken down into three phases, really," Wakamatsu said. "We had the workouts before the WBC, and the only guys missing were Ichiro (Suzuki) and Kenji (Johjima). That was Phase One.

"Phase Two was during the WBC, when we worked out and played games with a lot of players we probably wouldn't have seen much of without the WBC."

And Phase three will be a lightning-round of fundamentals work, trying to tighten the team on and off the field and get ready for opening day.

Not once this spring has the Mariners starting infield been in a game together. Not once has the starting outfield played together.

Yes, these are professionals, and baseball is baseball. But ask any team in the game if they'd like to run a camp this way, the answer would be a resounding 'No.'

The Mariners will start playing catch up today.

There was, briefly, another presence floating in the clubhouse this morning - Jay Buhner.

He came in early, met with the coaching staff, hung out with the training room crew and then dressed in uniform on the minor league side.

Buhner has been asked to work a few days with young outfielders, minor league hitters. Off the field, of coursre, he'll hang with Ken Griffey Jr.