Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis gives the top 10 reasons why it's good to be King Felix for Jim Caple's Off Base column
It rained all morning in Detroit, but the skies have cleared, the tarp came off the field. The weather forecast isn't great. The wind is howling with gusts from 28 to 38 miles per hour. The rain that was expected is scheduled for 9 p.m. with an 80 percent chance. So we'll have to keep an eye on that.
The Mariners were able to take early batting practice with Justin Smoak, Luis Rodriguez, Chris Gimenez, Adam Kennedy and Franklin Gutierrez all getting in swings.
Gutierrez is preparing to do footwork drills now.
In a minor sign that he's getting back to full health, he sat down with teammates in the clubhouse with a plate of food and ate. Gutierrez says he's lost more than 15 pounds. It looks like about 30 on a frame that didn't have 30 lose. I would imagine it will take a week or two of good eating, working out and conditioning before he's ready to start playing in games. Remember, he only played in six spring training games. So he's going to need a fair amount of rehab time in the minor leagues.
Speaking of rehab assignments, David Aardsma had a so-so outing yesterday in Salt Lake City. He gave up a run and a triple and also had a walk. I couldn't get a confirmation on his radar gun readings. But I was told by a reliable source that Aardsma's fastball had good "run" on his fastball. Aardsma felt the same way too after the outing.
He's with the Rainiers in Reno, I would imagine he may need at least one if not two or more outings before coming back.
Manager Eric Wedge said on Tuesday that Aardsma still isn't feeling where he needs to be in regards to locating the baseball.
"That's why he's down there," Wedge said.
Wedge said they need to see Aardsma command the baseball before they bring him back. And pitching in back to back isn't going to be necessary.
There really is no rush. This is basically Aardsma's spring training right now, and typically a reliever makes at least 10 appearances in spring to get ready. Brandon League made 13 appearances this spring.
Also of note ... lefty James Paxton - the Mariners fourth-round pick from the 2010 draft out of the University of Kentucy - will make his professional debut tonight. Paxton signed during spring training. He will get the start for Class A Clinton against the Peoria Chiefs. You can listen to the game here
Said GM Jack Zduriencik: "His last couple of outings were really, really good. It's just a matter of when he needed to be ready after having the long layoff. Like anything else, I don't expect miracles tonight. Just the fact that he's on the mound for the first time, he's going to be amped up. It's baby steps for him, get the innings and get the work in and see where it goes. Everyone is really excited about what he's shown."
Paxton was throwing games at extended spring training and looked dominant.
"His last outing he was 94-95 with a power curveball," Zduriencik said. "They said he was really, really good. Again this is just a step. Who knows what will happen tonight. You have to be cautious with understanding that he hasn't done this in a long time."
Zduriencik also raved about last year's top pick Taijuan Walker, a hard-throwing right-hander.
"The other night he had eight strikeouts in four innings, he was 95-96-97," Zduriencik said.
A few links ..
Tigers manager Jim Leyland said the sun got in Ryan Raburn's eyes on that homer last night.
- Ichiro RF
- Chone Figgins 3B
- Milton Bradley LF
- Miguel Olivo C
- Justin Smoak 1B
- Jack Cust DH
- Adam Kennedy 2B
- Brendan Ryan SS
- Michael Saunders CF
LHP Erik Bedard (0-4, 4.71 ERA)
- Austin Jackson CF
- Ryan Raburn 2B
- Magglio Ordonez DH
- Miguel Cabrera 1B
- Jhonny Peralta SS
- Brennan Boesch LF
- Brandon Inge 3B
- Alex Avila C
- Casper Wells RF
RHP Justin Verlander