The Mariner have finished their fourth workout of spring training, and it went a lot like the other three – smoothly with no mishaps and their manager pleased with the team’s condition and focus.
It’s way too soon for evaluations, but manager Eric Wedge likes what he’s seen of the non-r
oster pitchers and says there may be more opportunity for them to make the roster than usual.
“When you talk about the number of spots open in our bullpen, that’s a real possibility,” Wedge said.
A few post-practice notes:
• One player Wedge already is paying cl
ose attention to — and will throughout camp — is right-handed pitcher Jose Flores, who the Mariners plucked in the December Rule 5 draft from the Indians. Rule 5 regulations require the Mariners to either put Flores on the 25-man opening-day roster or offer him back to the Indians.
“You’ve got to get him comfortable,” Wedge said. “You’ve got to show more patience than with most guys and give him as much time as you can before making a decision.”
• Closer David Aardsma got some fresh air and, for the first time, went outside during the Mariners’ workout this morning. Limited to his crutches and putting minimal weight on his surgically repaired left hip, Aardsma sat atop an equipment box and watched the pitchers throw bullpens.
Aardsma, who rode a golf cart from the Mariners’ clubhouse to the lower practice fields, wanted to make it clear that he isn’t yet walking without the support of his crutches. He was cleared this week to put some weight on his left leg, but at this point he must always use the crutches for support.
• Milton Bradley said hello to reporters, hugged teammates, signed autographs for fans and took a round of batting practice with the position players. And yes, he did speak with Wedge. Those two have a checkered history going back to 2004 with the Indians, but at this point Wedge is focusing on this year.
“I had a good talk with Milton this morning,” said Wedge, who noted that he has talked with every player upon their arrival. “I’m just trying to get around to everybody.”
• Ran into Franklin Gutierrez briefly as he was leaving, and he says he’s over the stomach problems he had last year. Asked if his new mohawk haircut came at the insistence of Felix Hernandez (Guti’s looks nearly identical to Felix’s, with a normal patch of hair up front tapering to a narrow strip down the back), Gutierrez said no.
“I did this in the offseason,” Gutierrez said. “I did mine first.”
• As of the end of today’s workout, all but three players have made it to the Mariners’ facility – Ichiro Suzuki, Josh Wilson and Luis Rodriguez. Adam Kennedy, Brendan Ryan and Mike Carp were among the latest arrivals today. Friday is the official reporting date for position players, with the first full-squad workout Saturday.
Also on the field for the second day was catching coordinator Roger Hansen, who lives in Stanwood.
• Speaking of Saturday, the Mariners may want to dust off their rain plan. The forecast calls for a 70 percent chance of rain.
• First baseman Mike Carp said he has lost 15-20 pounds since the end of last season, the product of a healthier diet, offseason work and the determination to have a good showing in spring training.
“More cardio and a better diet. I cut out all the bad foods and sugar,” he said. “It was really hard, especially after I’ve lived my whole life eating other things. But I feel strong and healthy.”
Carp also is wearing a colorful tattoo that extends from his right biceps over his shoulder. The artwork includes carp (naturally) and represents each member of his family, especially his mom. He said that made it a little easier for her to give her blessing to the tattoo.