McLaren excited about first spring as a manager

PEORIA, Ariz. — This is the day that makes John McLaren feel like the baseball season is here.

The Seattle Mariners’ position players join the pitchers and catchers who’ve been at spring training for a week, and the team will conduct its first full-squad workout today.

First, McLaren will deliver his spring training address to the players for the first time as a major league manager.

“That’s the meeting I’ve always dreamed about,” said McLaren, who took over the Mariners midway through last season when Mike Hargrove abruptly resigned.

McLaren, a major league coach for 21 seasons, has given the first-day speech at spring training before but never as manager. He did it a few years ago with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays when manager Lou Piniella took time off to be with his sick father.

“I guess that was my practice speech, so to speak,” McLaren said. “But there’s something about your first spring training as manager, your first speech. There’s a lot of anticipation, a lot to be said.”

His message today will focus on both patience and aggression.

McLaren wants the Mariners’ hitters to show more patience, getting away from their free-swinging tendency and working the ball-strike count in their favor. Do that, he says, and the Mariners’ situational hitting should improve.

And that leads to his second goal: more aggressive baserunning.

McLaren will emphasize more stolen bases and runners going from first to third at this camp, and he warns that it could be ugly for a while.

“We might see a guy get thrown out at third base here, but that’s what I want,” he said. “We want to be like the Angels. They go from first to third as well as any team I’ve seen. It has a lot to do with speed, but it also has a lot to do with mindset.”

McLaren isn’t concerned with victories and losses during the exhibition season, and he realizes that the emphasis on aggressive baserunning may cost the Mariners a game or two in March.

“I’m not saying we don’t try to win the games but it’s not the top priority,” he said. “We want to do things right, and sometimes to teach to do things right we might make an out where normally you wouldn’t make an out. But we want to find things out here and show guys what they’re capable of doing, make it a point now. It might cost us a couple of outs here and there but that’s what we want. That’s the only way you’re going to learn.”

Lopez delayed: Visa problems will keep second baseman Jose Lopez at home in Venezuela at least a couple of days, McLaren said.

“He should be a day, possibly two at the most,” McLaren said. “It’s not anybody’s fault. It’s just the way the powers that be is down there. They’ve got their own schedule. No matter when you go in to get it done, you’re at their mercy. He did everything he was supposed to do and they just dragged their feet.”

McLaren said Lopez wouldn’t be hurt if he misses only a couple of days.

Of note: Center fielder Ichiro Suzuki arrived Tuesday afternoon for his physical exam but said he wouldn’t talk with the U.S. media until after today’s practice. … The Mariners were eager to take a look at right-hander Anderson Garcia’s arm after they claimed him off waivers over the weekend, but it turns out the trainers will be the first people to see it closely. Garcia has tendinitis in his biceps and won’t be able to throw for a few days, McLaren said. … The only other injury of note is a bad back for catcher Brant Ust, who missed two days but may return today. … The Mariners signed 31-year-old outfielder Bubba Crosby, who spent last year with the Cincinnati Reds’ Class AAA club, to a minor league contract. Crosby, who will report to the minor league camp March 6, has played for the Dodgers and Yankees in the majors, his best year being 2005 when he batted .276 with New York.

Read Kirby Arnold’s blog on the Mariners at

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Storm fans cheer during the game against the Los Angeles Sparks at Angel of the Winds Arena on Friday, June 21, 2019 in Everett, Wash. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Storm to welcome limited number of fans for games in Everett

Seattle is allowed to host up to 2,000 fans per game this season at Angel of the Winds Arena.

White line on Green grass sport field for sport concept
Prep results for Wednesday, May 5

Prep results for Wednesday, May 5: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox top Hops in 11 innings for 1st win of season

Everett scores on a passed ball in extras and hangs on to beat Hillsboro 3-2.

FILE - Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf, right, runs to score a touchdown ahead of Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Jamel Dean during the second half of an NFL football game in Seattle, in this Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, file photo.  Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf is explosive off the line of scrimmage. But Sunday, May 9, 2021, he will venture into a new sort of lane to test his speed on a different sort of line, one that's filled with Olympic-caliber sprinters. (AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File)
Seahawks’ Metcalf to test speed against top sprinters

The wide receiver will run the 100-meter dash at the USA Track and Field Golden Games on Sunday.

Kevin Clark / The Herald

***Silvertips Special Sections*****
Yan Khomenko signals for substitution Sunday night at Xfinity Arena in Everett, Wa on September 6th, 2015

Sports:  Silvertips Special Section
Shot on: 09/06/15
Silvertips top rival Thunderbirds in shootout

Gage Goncalves scores the shootout winner as Everett beats Seattle 4-3.

The Herald’s Athlete of the Week poll.
Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for April 26-May 2

The Athlete of the Week nominees for April 26-May 2. Voting closes… Continue reading

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher John Means, right, hugs catcher Pedro Severino after Means threw a no-hitter in the team's baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Seattle. The Orioles won 6-0. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Mariner no-hit by Orioles’ Means

Seattle’s offensive woes catch up to it in a big way in a 6-0 loss to Baltimore to end its homestand.

Emerson Hancock warms up Saturday afternoon during practice at Funko Field in Everett on May 1, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox preview: It’s prospects galore as Sox begin a new era

The AquaSox are loaded with talent as they enter their 1st season at the minor leagues’ High-A level.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
AquaSox drop season opener to Hops

Everett’s offense musters just four hits in a 4-2 loss to Hillsboro.

Most Read