PEORIA, Ariz. A dozen or so Seattle Mariners including Mike Sweeney, Eric Byrnes, Matt Tuiasosopo, Steven Baron and Rob Johnson went outside Friday afternoon, unrolled their mats and tried their hands and arms and legs at yoga.
They followed the instruction of Sarah Potts, an instructor from Seattle who is introducing the team to yoga. Every Mariner was to go through an introductory session this week and Potts will return later in spring training and lead classes for those who want to pursue it.
Yoga is perfect for baseball players as far as core stability, lengthening muscles, your hamstrings, your back, infielder Jack Hannahan said. Yoga is something that Ill always do now. It makes your body feel so much better.
Hannahan participated in a yoga class three to four times a week during the offseason, taking Bikram Yoga, also known as hot yoga because its done in a room heated to nearly 100 degrees.
It was tough the first time I did it, he said. And I mean real rough. The first time, I could barely do anything. Your heart rate is going and its real hot in the room. I thought I was going to throw up.
Nobody lost their lunch Friday, although the instructor got a little impatient with a lot of the chit-chat that was going on in her afternoon session.
Sweeney, as youd expect, was gabbing away much of the time, and the 19-year-old Baron fell into such a fit of laughter that he couldnt hold a pose. Finally, Potts spoke up.
Were going to keep going if you keep talking, the instructor said.
Sweeney fell silent for one of the rare moments this month.
Buhner pushing a new-look bat
Jay Buhner spent the day at spring training telling some hilarious stories about the bad old days of Mariners baseball and showing off an intriguing new baseball bat.
Hes working with Federal Way-based Baden Sports to promote a new maple bat called the Axe because of the unique shape of its handle, which is shaped like an axe. Rusty Trudeau, Badens baseball and softball sales manager, said the idea is based on stories that Ted Williams would swing an axe in the offeseason to build his swing.
The flatter shape of an axe handle fits the hand better than a perfectly round bat. The knob is angled such that Buhner believes hitters wont suffer problems with hand fatigue or hamate bone injuries that are more common with a traditional bat.
MLB has given provisional approval to the Baden bat, meaning players will be allowed to use it. Hannahan took two rounds of batting practice with it Friday and said he would use it in exhibition games.
The Mariners are giving Cliff Lee two days between bullpen sessions, meaning hell throw off the mound today instead of Friday as originally planned. Hell throw another bullpen Tuesday and a simulated game Friday. If the schedule holds, his first exhibition game will be March 10. ... Wakamatsu said he hopes to have both Lee and Felix Hernandez pitch about 25 innings before the regular season begins. Hernandez will throw a simulated game Thursday. ... Ian Snell and Jason Vargas will start Mondays eight-inning intrasquad game, and Ryan Rowland-Smith and Sean White will start Tuesdays five-inning intrasquad. Doug Fister will start the first exhibition Wednesday against the Giants and Vargas on Thursday against the Padres. ... The Mariners agreed to contracts for 2010 with 18 players who are under club control, including Fister, Shawn Kelley, Garrett Olson, Ryan Rowland-Smith, Jason Vargas, Jack Hannahan, Michael Saunders, Rob Johnson and Adam Moore. Luke French, Sean White and Matt Tuiasosopo are the only unsigned players, with a March 11 deadline for them to sign or have their contracts renewed. ... Yusmeiro Petit, excused from camp in order to deal with a personal issue at home in Venezuela, took part in Fridays workout and threw in the bullpen. Hes not real sharp right now but we saw a lot of movement in his ball, Wakamatsu said. ... The Mariners will work out this morning in Peoria Stadium as part of the ballparks annual FanFest.
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