PEORIA, Ariz. -- Right-hander Taijuan Walker looked strong in his spring debut with two scoreless innings for the Mariners, while Justin Upton opened his Padres career with a home run in Wednesday's Cactus League opener at a renovated Peoria Stadium.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- As the Mariners' first-round pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, there are a lot of eyes on D.J. Peterson as he goes through his first Major League camp this spring.
And the young third-base prospect didn't disappoint when he launched a home run on his initial at-bat in the first inning of Seattle's 4-3 win in 10 innings over the Padres on Wednesday in the Cactus League opener.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners first-base prospect Ji-Man Choi broke the fibula bone in his right leg on Wednesday after landing awkwardly trying to haul in an errant throw in the ninth inning of Seattle's 4-3 victory over the Padres in the Cactus League opener.
Choi, a 23-year-old from South Korea, was carted off the field after going down in a heap at the first-base bag following his leaping attempt to pull in a high toss from shortstop Tyler Smith.
PEORIA -- Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon's message to Taijuan Walker was brief. "We don't expect him to pitch like he's 21 or 22," McClendon said.
Walker, who turned 22 in August, heard the manager loud and clear.
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez remains the face of the Mariners, as evidenced by a large camera crew from Major League Baseball that followed his every move on Wednesday shooting video for an upcoming 30-second promotional spot.
But Seattle's ace isn't all on his own any more as the club has beefed up its roster with some noticeable veteran presence.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Racking up hits has always been important to Kyle Seager, but that role will help another goal this season as the Mariners All-Star third baseman has hooked up with former North Carolina teammate Chase Jones on a charity to help fight children's cancer.
Jones was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer when he was a freshman in college. Now seven years later, Jones is pushing to help others with his Vs. Cancer Foundation -- and he landed a key contributor in Seager.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Danny Hultzen took another step on the long road back from shoulder surgery Tuesday as the Mariners' 2011 first-round Draft pick threw his first live batting practice of the spring and pronounced everything good.
The Mariners are looking at this season as a build-up year for Hultzen, focused on getting him ready to compete for a Major League role in 2016 after missing nearly two full seasons with significant shoulder issues. But the 25-year-old appears strong and healthy as he progresses through the early spring work.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- After slow starts the past two seasons by Dustin Ackley, Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon plans to give the left fielder extra at-bats this spring with the hope he can hit the ground running when the season opens in April.
And while many veterans like to pace themselves early and gradually build for the long haul, the 27-year-old Ackley says he's fine with whatever work comes his way as he prepares for his fifth season in the Majors.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Rainy weather played a little havoc with the Mariners' plans for Monday, wiping out their only scheduled intrasquad game and putting a slight hiccup in some of the pitching plans. Manager Lloyd McClendon said he wasn't concerned about Mother Nature's interference.
Left-hander James Paxton had to limit his throwing distance on his first day back from a bruised forearm that sidelined him the first 10 days of camp and Hisashi Iwakuma was limited to another bullpen session instead of his first live batting practice of the spring.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Lloyd McClendon has never liked the word "platoon," but the Mariners' skipper acknowledged Monday that he'll likely be using that sort of split-time situation in both left and right field this season if things go as planned.
McClendon said his left-field situation will likely see Rickie Weeks starting against left-handed pitchers and Dustin Ackley against right-handers. Similarly, the right-field at-bats figure to fall primarily to right-handed-hitting Justin Ruggiano or Nelson Cruz against left-handed starters, and Seth Smith against righties.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Clearly, the Mariners have wanted to see David Rollins in a Seattle uniform for a long time. They drafted him twice, after all, in 2009 and '10, before he elected to return to school both times.
This past December at the Rule 5 Draft, Seattle got their man. The 25-year-old Rollins is now in camp in Peoria, competing for a job as the second lefty in the bullpen -- the spot once held by the departed Joe Beimel.
Ramirez is one of three main contenders for Seattle's vacant No. 5 starter spot, along with Taijuan Walker and Roenis Elias. Pries, meanwhile, is a 25-year-old left-hander who posted a 4.06 ERA in 25 appearances for Triple-A Tacoma last season.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- In Lloyd McClendon's eyes, Austin Jackson represents the spark the Mariners' offense needs this year. And to make sure his catalyst performs at a high level throughout the season, the Seattle skipper plans to give Jackson a few extra days off this summer.
McClendon told reporters he expects Jackson's total number of games played to decrease this year -- an effort to keep the 28-year-old center fielder fresh. Last season, Jackson hit .191 in September -- with a significant decline in his slugging percentage during the second half of the season.
While we salivate at the release of the Top 100 prospect list, the fact is that very few players become superstars. Most slip into careers as relievers, journeymen and Quad-A sluggers.
But a few still manage to surprise you when most have stopped paying attention. After struggling to a .244/.328/.405 mark through 2010, Alex Gordon has become one of the most valuable players in the Majors, with the third baseman-turned-outfielder posting the third-highest Wins Above Replacement among American League position players in 2014.
Michael Clair is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @clairbearattack. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Even while some of the younger Mariners prospects are enjoying the experience of their first Major League camp this spring, they can't help but stop at times and ponder the gravity of the situation facing teammate Victor Sanchez.
The 20-year-old right-hander remains in a coma in a hospital in Caracas, Venezuela, two weeks after being hit in the head by a water craft while swimming off the shore of the eastern coastal city of Carupano in his home country.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- While much of the early focus of Mariners camp has centered around the arrival of new cleanup hitter Nelson Cruz and late addition of veteran Rickie Weeks, Seth Smith has quietly gone about his business of getting ready for his ninth Major League season in relative anonymity.
But Smith, 32, figures as one of Seattle's significant offensive upgrades as a potential No. 2 hitter in the lineup and a proven and productive left-handed bat.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- With some wet weather rolling into the Phoenix area on Saturday, the Mariners cut their planned workout short by about an hour and focused mostly on infield work and conditioning.
Though rain didn't fall in the 90 minutes while the Mariners were on the field, heavy precipitation in the early morning led to some wet fields and manager Lloyd McClendon chose to keep things safe.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Having a healthy Hisashi Iwakuma in camp from Day One figures to be a significant difference for the Mariners this spring, but that doesn't mean they're in a hurry to push the veteran before the calendar even reaches March.
While most of Seattle's hurlers are now firing live batting practice to hitters, Iwakuma instead threw his third bullpen session of the spring on Friday. But manager Lloyd McClendon said there are no health concerns with the right-hander who missed all of Spring Training and the first month of 2014 with a torn finger tendon.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- If you're looking for the happiest guy in Mariners camp this spring, the early leader in the clubhouse would be Marcus Littlewood. For the simple reason that, well, he's actually in the Mariners' clubhouse.
Littlewood was sitting home in Provo, Utah, two days before the Mariners big league camp was scheduled to open when his phone rang and his caller ID showed Chris Gwynn, Seattle's Minor League director.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez made his spring debut for the Mariners on Thursday, throwing his first bullpen session as the progression begins toward his club-record eighth Opening Day start.
Hernandez punctuated his 30-pitch outing with a full 360-degree leap after his final toss, looking like a man who was happy to be back on the mound again after a long winter.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- For Franklin Gutierrez, the goal this spring is simple. After sitting out last season, the former Gold Glove center fielder just wants to see if there's still a chance to play the game he loves.
Nothing has come easy for Gutierrez in recent years, though an injury-plagued career in Seattle finally began to make more sense when he was diagnosed with an inflammatory nerve condition called ankylosing spondylitis that attacks the flexibility in the spine and lower back.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The stars have aligned in Seattle, where Felix Hernandez, Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager welcome Nelson Cruz to the troupe. With the national media focused on a big four the Mariners will stack up against any in the game, the key to the whole operation could be Austin Jackson, the center fielder Seattle acquired from Detroit last July 31.
Jackson struggled offensively in his new environment, but he's proven goods: an exciting leadoff catalyst who steals runs with his glove.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- A Mariners team looking to add some right-handed punch trotted out two new veterans to fill that gap Wednesday, as Nelson Cruz and Rickie Weeks took the field for the first time with their new club.
At Seattle's first full-squad workout, it was hard to ignore the thump-thump in batting practice of Cruz and Weeks. The powerful presence of Cruz -- last year's Major League home run leader -- was evident as he blistered line drive after line drive into the outfield gaps and over the fence at the Peoria Complex practice field.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- For Dustin Ackley, no matter what stresses come his way this baseball season, nothing will likely match his cross-country journey from Michigan to Arizona that was interrupted midway by the unexpected arrival of his first child.
After setting off by RV from Lapeer, Mich., for their annual trek west with their two dogs in tow, things got a little crazy for the Ackleys when his wife, Justine, went into labor about halfway into the four-day journey. Though the baby wasn't due for five more weeks, there are no stop signs for these things once nature takes its course.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- As Lloyd McClendon greeted 61 players to the Mariners' first full-squad workout of Spring Training on Wednesday, the second-year manager had a clear message for his troops.
Forget what you've been reading and hearing. It's time to start preparing and playing.
PEORIA, Ariz. -- As Mariners position players reported for camp on Tuesday, Robinson Cano arrived with a breath of fresh air and a healthy dose of optimism. But the six-time All-Star second baseman also knows that all the raised expectations and excitement can disappear in a hurry if things don't go well.
"On paper we look like the world champions," Cano said. "But it's not how we look on paper. We have to go out and prove it every single day. Hopefully, we'll stay healthy and be able to play the whole year."
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Fernando Rodney enjoys baseball. He shoots pretend arrows when he racks up a save. He dances in the practice field when the mood strikes in spring. And this spring, the veteran closer is ready to cut loose.
"You have to be happy," Rodney said Tuesday after throwing his first bullpen session of the spring. "I feel happy with all the moves they've made, signing [Nelson] Cruz and bringing a couple more guys to help win the division. That's great to me. That's why I'm dancing."
PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's definitely good to be the King.
Felix Hernandez traveled the world this winter with his wife and two kids, then returned home to a beautiful new house in the Seattle area where he has a fleet of sports cars and a gorgeous view befitting a man with five seasons and $128 million still remaining on a seven-year, $175 million contract.