PEORIA, Ariz. – Roger Hansen, the Mariners’ minor league catching coordinator, was back in uniform Sunday after a harrowing offseason.
Hansen, who lives near Stanwood, lost his right kidney just before Christmas after doctors discovered a cancerous growth during an exam.
He spent the winter recovering from surgery and had to scrap plans to work with catchers Kenji Johjima and Jeff Clement last month at Safeco Field.
He is expected to make a full recovery.
“I’m a little lighter than I was before, but everything is fine,” he said.
Hansen, 44, is known for putting catchers through rigorous workouts and says he’ll do his best to continue that approach at spring training.
“I might have to back off a little if I get tired, but I feel good and I’m ready to go,” Hansen said.
Smooth so far: Manager Mike Hargrove said his second spring training camp has been easier on him than last year, when he spent much of the time getting to know players and instilling his work ethic, sometimes with harsh words.
“It’s easier to relate to them and easier to figure out where they might fit,” he said. “I don’t have to be an ass to let them know what I expect, and there were times last year I had to do that.”
It’s difficult to evaluate players until the exhibition games begin next month, but Hargrove has kept a careful eye on the pitchers to see how they have come back from the offseason.
“I’m looking at how the ball comes out of their hands, their mechanics,” he said. “Are they solid, do they seem to be in sync, what their command is early? The guys who have been throwing, we’re letting them throw breaking balls. Mostly it’s just fastballs and changeups. We’re trying to command the fastball now as much as anything.”
Ibanez arrives: Left fielder Raul Ibanez worked out for the first time Sunday, leaving first baseman Richie Sexson, designated hitter Carl Everett and right fielder Ichiro Suzuki as the only starters who hadn’t arrived.
Suzuki has stayed in Japan to work out with the Japanese team that will play next month in the World Baseball Classic. He will report to the Mariners after Japan finishes the tournament.
Backup outfielder Matt Lawton also had not arrived by Sunday.
Position players are required to report to the Mariners today with their first official workout Tuesday, although many of them have been in camp most of the past week working out on their own. Greg Dobbs, an infielder who is trying to win a place on the roster as a backup, also arrived Sunday.
Of note: One day after the $365 million Powerball jackpot drawing, nobody in the Mariners’ clubhouse came to work Sunday any richer than they already were. “If I’d won all that money, then what fun would baseball be?” utility player Mike Morse asked. … Andy Dominique, a minor league catcher, suffered the first significant injury of spring training when he sprained his right knee during drills Sunday morning. The knee will be re-evaluated today to determine the extent of the injury. The Mariners’ health report otherwise has been good. Hargrove said only catcher Kenji Johjima and pitchers Jamie Moyer and Eddie Guardado have altered their conditioning programs, riding stationary bikes instead of running to avoid the pounding from the hard fields in Arizona. … Moyer was excused from Sunday’s workout after returning to Seattle for a charity event. … The Mariners have hired Dr. Ed Khalfayan as a team physician.