• Tuesday, February 24, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

A daily look at the Mariners during spring training.

  • The couple from Gig Harbor entered the lobby of the Mariners’ spring training headquarters looking for some basic information. All they needed was a roster and a schedule, but what they got were five minutes with a superstar.

    Stan and Marlene Smith walked through the front door just as Warren Williams, who occupies the desk in the lobby and greets visitors, had stepped away.

    Pitcher Jamie Moyer was nearby and perfectly willing to take care of the visitors.

    “How can I help you?” Moyer asked the couple, settling into a chair behind the desk. “Need schedules? Rosters?”

    The Smiths got their schedules and rosters, plus a lot more. Stan Smith asked Moyer a few questions and got thoughtful, detailed and sincere answers in return.

    “He’s such a nice man,” Marlene Smith said.

    Williams, meanwhile, returned to the lobby to find Moyer in his chair.

    “You’ve been replaced,” someone said.

    Williams smiled and said, “I don’t think he can handle that job.”

  • This is one of the days that players enjoy most. No, not the physical exams that the position players will undergo, although those will happen, too.

    Film crews will be at the facility to begin shooting the Mariners’ annual television commercials, spots that have become popular over the years because of their humor.

    Seven commercials will be shot today, Thursday and Friday.

    That’s in addition, of course, to another day of workouts for the Mariners’ pitchers and catchers.

  • Relief pitcher Rafael Soriano had a magnetic resonance imaging exam that showed a strained oblique muscle in his left side that will keep him out three to four weeks.

    Right-handed pitcher Jeff Heaverlo continues to improve from a strained teres major muscle near his right armpit and might return to the mound Friday.

    “He’ll play some light catch (today) and play long toss Thursday,” trainer Rick Griffin said of Heaverlo. “If that goes well, he’ll throw in the bullpen on Friday. He’s made good progress.”

  • Clouds, then sun, and clouds again followed by more sun greeted ballplayers on a cool day in Peoria as they returned to soggy but playable practice fields. At least it didn’t rain like Monday. Forecasters predict clear skies with temperatures in the high 60s today.

  • “I did that several times. But it was in batting practice.”

    Manager Bob Melvin, trying to appear unimpressed after being told that Jay Buhner was the first right-handed hitter to homer into the vacant center field bleacher section well beyond the center field fence at Yankee Stadium.

  • The backup third baseman showed up at the Mariners’ complex Tuesday … the San Diego Padres’ backup third baseman.

    Jeff Cirillo stopped by and said hello to a few former teammates, coaches and manager Bob Melvin as he prepared to report to his new team.

    The Mariners traded Cirillo to the Padres this winter after he endured two years of offensive struggles in Seattle. He will start the season as the backup to Padres third baseman Sean Burroughs.

    Kirby Arnold, Herald Writer

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