this, that and the other…

Injury Updates…

  • Franklin Gutierrez appears to be well ahead of schedule recovering/rehabbing from his torn pectoral muscle.  He has been throwing and will tart taking BP tomorrow
  • Mike Carp suffered a strained shoulder diving for a ball in the outfield in the second game against the A’s in Tokyo. He had an MRI upon returning to Peoria that showed no structural damage.  Optimistic estimates have him being ready for the home opener.
  • Adam Moore has recovered from the broken bone in his wrist (and played 5 innings in a minor league game on Friday). He will travel to Tacoma when minor league camp breaks on Monday.

Sick Bay…

  • Dustin Ackley, Michael Saunders, Carlos Peguero = flu like symptoms
  • George Sherrill = respiratory issues

Back from the Japan adventure…

Reports are that everyone is a bit bleary-eyed and it will take some time for all the body clocks to get adjusted (hence, no one who made the trip played in the game last night).  Logistically everything went off without a hitch – 145 made the trip on the Mariners charter and 147 returned (picked up a couple Japanese media to cover the M’s back at home).

Go to Japan, gain a fiance…

Greg Johns filed this story (with video) re: Brendon Ryan’s proposal

Ryan, 30, proposed to his long-time girlfriend on Tuesday on the Sky Deck on the 54th floor of Mori Tower, one of Tokyo’s tallest buildings, surprising her with a ring he’d brought from the United States as part of a master plan he managed to keep secret for months.

“I had this planned for quite a while,” said Ryan. “Once I heard we were going to Japan, I figured it was a pretty cool opportunity. Then MLB heard about it and stepped in and rolled out the red carpet for us and it was just awesome.” 

Ryan told his girlfriend, Sharyn, that they were going on a tour and needed to get dressed up. MLB provided a fake “tour guide” who took the couple to the tower, where Ryan waited for the perfect moment.

“We got up there at sunset so it was starting to get dark and you could see the lights of the city and the Tokyo Tower was lit up,” he said. “It was perfect.”  Ryan had asked Ichiro’s interpreter, Antony Suzuki, how to say “Will you marry me?” in Japanese. “So I dropped that on her,” Ryan said. “When she asked me what that meant I got down on a knee. It was kind of cool.” 

:::

The hyperactive Ryan thought of everything on this one, even realizing he shouldn’t trust himself to bring the engagement ring with him to Japan.

“One of the smartest things I ever did was give that thing to Felix [Hernandez],” Ryan said, “because I figured if anybody was going to lose it, he could afford it.”

M’s re-set their rotation for the resumption of the regular season…

@OAK – Vargas, Felix

@TEX – Noesi (vs. Darvish!), Beavan, Millwood, Vargas

which means ~ Felix for the home opener on Friday the 13th!

Here’s an explanation on the flip-flop

 

Alex Liddi named Peoria Rookie of the Year!

selected by “Peoria Diamond Club” made up of Mariners and Padres players

 

M’s release reliever Aaron Heilman who was in minor league camp…

Good luck, Aaron.

g2 | scarce as hen’s teeth

Mariners 1 | Athletics 4

Yes, one of Dave Niehau’s favorite phrases could very aptly apply to the M’s offense in general but, it could also apply to…

1) the fact that every run in the game was scored via the long ball, and

2) the fact that it happened in a game between the M’s and the A’s

Getty Images

Unfortunately, the M’s only had 1of the 4 total home runs…
(Justin’s first of the season) and it was of the solo variety. A pattern seems to be forming (ok – only two doesn’t really make a pattern but, it’s hard to set aside last year’s experience) where a good to great starting pitching performance is not justly rewarded.  Jason Vargas pitched 6+ and gave up two hits and two walks and one run (aboard via a walk that scored when Kelley gave up a homer in relief of Jason) at one point retiring 14 of 15 batters.

‘t was definitely not the bullpen’s night…
Larry Stone tweeted that Sherrill faced 81 lefties last year and gave up ONE homer and this year gave up a homer to the first lefty he faced.

It wasn’t exactly a steller night for the O either….
Only THREE hits but, good to see Montero get his first M’s hit, breaking up the no-hitter in the 5th

And, look at this – SEVEN walks – definitely should have scored more than ONE run.

But, they came away with a split…
which, apparently, is how every MLB season opening series in Japan (this being the 4th) has ended up.

Now, back to Zona…
for some jet-lag recuperation and last bit of tuning up before their “next” opener – in Oakland one week from Friday.

g1 | extra early start, extra innings end

Mariners 3 | Athletics 1

Of course the most important first was the WIN but, lots of other notable season firsts…

  • First extra inning game
  • Ichiro first hit in his first AB in the 3-hole (and first since KGJ to record 4 hits in an opener)
  • Ackley first homer, first RBI, first run scored, first error
  • Saunders first put out, first stolen base, first GDIP
  • Ryan first double, first CS
  • Miggy first runner thrown out
  • Figgy first sac bunt
  • Felix first K, first ND, first HBP
  • Tom threw the first relief innings – both of the scoreless variety, resulting in his first win
  • Brandon first save

And then there were a couple of rarities…

  • Apparently a Japanese tradition, so only different for the players – the awarding of an MVP after every game – and this game’s deserving recipient ~ Dustin Ackley ~ was awarded with a check for 1 million yen (about $12k)
  • And, there were ZERO walks in the entire game

Brandon McCarthy and the A’s ‘pen was pretty solid… 

he retired 6 of the first 7 batters he faced (5 ground outs and a strikeout). Michael Saunders seemed to get things going in the 3rd with a single on the first pitch he saw and then he swiped 2B – but, the good will was erased when he erred on the base paths – thrown out a 3B when the ball was hit in front of him.  Not to be left out, Brendon Ryan made a base-running blunder of his own when he got a bit too aggressive after a getting on base with a single and then got caught stealing 2B. Figgy was 0-2 in his first AB’s as lead-off guy but, recorded a hit and a sac bunt in his last two ABs. Dustin’s homer and the first run of the game came in the 4th but Ichiro was left stranded after his second hit and McCarthy and the A’s bullpen would leave the M’s hitless until the 11th

As for Felix…

after allowing a lead-off hit to Weeks (who seems to be as annoying to the M’s as a A as Figgy was as an Angel) he went on to retire 9 in-a-row before allowing 2 doubles in the 4th – Carp made a nice diving try for the second one (off Suzuki’s bat – another one of those pesky A’s) but, to no avail and the run scored to tie the game. Speaking of Carp, he was a pretty busy man, especially in the later innings when he recorded a total of 5 put-outs. Over the next 4 innings, it was a bit of a mixed bag for Felix – a couple HBP, a single, a double and a stolen base – but no runs, so he did his job. And, as per usual, a shame he didn’t get the win – thought he would be the first to say what matters is the TEAM win.

And then there was the Bartender…

Tom was GREAT! In his 2 innings of work, in which he would ultimately earn the win (still think that’s a bizarre rule), he allowed one hit but the runner was erased on Miggy’s throw and recorded 3 K’s

Get ’em on, get ’em over, get ’em in…

Brendon led off the 11th with a double, Figgy bunted him to 3B and Dustin singled him home to give the M’s the lead 2-1. With Ichi batting, Ackley stole 2B and Ichiro singled him home for the third run – and was promptly thrown out trying to take 2B

Brandon came in and quickly recorded a fly out and a strike out…

but, the single he gave up was a bit breath-taking – in that it whizzed right between is glove and his face! But, he was none the worse for wear and a K later, he was shaking Miggy’s hand.

Bottom line good…

Felix was Felix, the bullpen was stellar, the defense was solid, the offense did j u s t enough

Bottom line NOT so good…

the offense is going to have to show more ~ especially the  4-7 hitters ~ who were 0-17

Bottom line obvious…

Japan LOVES their native son (and the Ichi-meter travels!)…

Getty Images

Geoff Baker captured some of Ichiro’s emotion of the evening

And in the end, his most enjoyable moment came when teammates told him how much they apreciated the crowd here. Members of the A’s told him the same thing on the field the many times he reached base.

“Our teammates said that about our fans,” he said. “They said they like the fans here, the atmosphere, the way they approach it that about the atmosphere. And even the players on the other side, the opponents, the A’s, said that, too. So, it’s a good experience.”

Actually, it was something more than that to him.

“To see the fans and how they react and how they welcomed the players, they’re very warm-hearted,” Ichiro said.

“It makes you cry.”

Opening Morning …

choneFIGGINS third

dustinACKLEY second

ichiroSUZUKI right

justinSMOAK first

jesusMONTERO hitter

mikeCARP left

miguelOLIVO catcher

michaelSAUNDERS center

brendonRYAN short

felixHERNANDEZ king

vs.

Weeks 2B

Pennington SS

Crisp LF

Smith DH

Suzuki C

Reddick RF

Cespedes CF

Allen 1B

Sogard 3B

McCarthy SP

 

pLaY baLL!!!


four and a half hours till first pitch….

I really want to take a nap, so I will be all fresh and rested for every pitch, every at bat.  Trouble is … I’m not tired!  Not at the moment anyway.  Hoping I’ll be able to doze for an hour or so at some point prior to first pitch.

In the meantime, here are some links with news and notes of the last couple of days – in Japan and here at home…

Guti and Moore start the season on the 15-day DL

Shannon Drayer shares the “clinic trip” with photos

Larry’ Stone talks about young hitters who hold promise but wonders if the pitching can hold out

Greg Johns says Felix still looking to improve

Carp and Ackley at the US Embassy…

(thanks, Shannon Drayer!)

This one is worth re-posting – it’s such a great shot!

(thanks, M’s twit pic)

and, some pre-game tweets…

CarpusMaximus20
Opening Day Japan just a few short hours away. Here we go 2012! Wishing all my teammates good health and best of luck this year.

TheDA53
@shawnkelley23@BrandonLeague43 good luck today. Pulling for y’all

Mariners
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re 12 hours away from the first pitch of the #OpeningSeries. How are you planning to watch the game?

CompassRosy
@Mariners I will try to nap around 11pm and have the alarm and coffee pot set for 2am. Can nap after the game too, since I took the day off!

Mariners
@CompassRosy A fan with a plan. We like it.

ex2 | sailors of Seattle no match for the giants of Yomiuri

Mariners 3 | Giants 9

I happened to wake up from a sound sleep to see that the M’s game had started just minutes before (at 3am PT) so I watched on my phone for a few minutes and drifted in and out of sleep.  Ackley had already homered but that was countered by a Giants home in the bottom of the inning.  Ackley would later triple and Seager a double (for an RBI) and Ichiro had the other RBI.  And that was all she wrote for the offense.

And things did not get any better on the pitching side of the ledger.  To say Iwakuma struggled would be an extreme understatement. Some, since, have enve speculated injury.

And then there was the defense that shown initially with a nice DP as well as an outfield assist by Carp but later, 2 passed balls by Quiroz, a failed pick off by Sherrill and a throwing error by Liddi (all in the 6th inning!) erased all that.

Let’s just say – they are glad this one doesn’t “count”.

But, there were some pretty cool outings earlier in the day prior to the game…

Like the visit to Camp Zama that Justin Smoak, Dustin Ackley and George Sherrill took (complete with a ride in a Blackhawk helicopter!)

courtesy Greg John’s twitpic

ex1 | Let’s chalk it up to jet-lag

Mariners 1 | Hanshin Tigers 3

And, maybe the very raucous atmosphere, that even the vets, let alone the rooks, aren’t even used to.

Here’s some great photos and pre-game video from Geoff Baker.

This is how the Tokyo Dome looked during introductions (that apparently exploded in huge cheers upon the mention of Ichrio, Iwakuma and Kawasaki)

Introductions | courtesy M’s twitpic

Hector Noesi posted a nice 1-2-3 first inning but melted down a bit in the second…
giving up 3 runs on 4 hits (including a 2-run homer) a HBP and a walk. Then, he settled down and allowed only 2 hits over the next 3 innings.

~ Erazmo Ramirez relieved Hector and tossed a scoreless 6th with 2 K’s
~ Tom Wilhelmsen … not so much, another couple of runs for the Tigers
~ Brandon League came in and pitched a scoreless 9th

Not much offense mustered vs. the Tigers…
only EIGHT total hits – one double and one home run
the lone run came via the long ball – Casper who, heretofore, was having an awful spring. Go figure. Cool that he brought his dad with him, who, according to a tweet from Shannon, was going nuts in the stands 🙂