Mariners prospects keep Sanchez in thoughts

Young right-hander remains in coma after being hit by water craft

Mariners prospects keep Sanchez in thoughts

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Smith brings quiet approach to first Mariners camp

Veteran outfielder looks forward to getting to know new teammates

Smith brings quiet approach to first Mariners camp

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners cut workout short due to inclement weather

Mariners cut workout short due to inclement weather

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners focused on having a healthy Iwakuma in 2015

Right-hander throwing bullpens while most of pitchers throwing live BP

Mariners focused on having a healthy Iwakuma in 2015

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Littlewood takes it all in after late call to big league camp

Catcher gets chance to be in same clubhouse with Mariners' All-Stars

Littlewood takes it all in after late call to big league camp

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Felix opens road toward Opening Day start

Mariners have mapped out ace's Spring Training path for April 6 at Safeco Field

Felix opens road toward Opening Day start

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gutierrez eager to play again with Mariners

After battling illness, veteran outfielder is thankful for spring invitation

Gutierrez eager to play again with Mariners

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Jackson an X-factor for motivated Mariners

Center fielder's glove work, speed add dimension to playoff-hungry squad

Jackson an X-factor for motivated Mariners

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.

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Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cruz, Weeks make noise on first day of Mariners camp

Cruz, Weeks make noise on first day of Mariners camp

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ackley's newborn son couldn't wait for Spring Training

Ackley's newborn son couldn't wait for Spring Training

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

For McClendon, Mariners' championship run starts now

Manager emphasizes importance of preparation for grind over expectations

For McClendon, Mariners' championship run starts now

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cano arrives to camp focused on reaching postseason

Second baseman thinks talented squad has potential to be great

Cano arrives to camp focused on reaching postseason

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."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners closer Rodney in good spirits, health

Mariners closer Rodney in good spirits, health

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."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Felix: Main motivation is Mariners have talent to win

Felix: Main motivation is Mariners have talent to win

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.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Elias aims to build on rousing rookie season

26-year-old lefty in Spring Training battle for fifth spot in Mariners' rotation

Elias aims to build on rousing rookie season

PEORIA, Ariz. -- After fighting his way from Cuba to the Major Leagues, Roenis Elias isn't about to take anything for granted now.

The 26-year-old left-hander won 10 games and put up a 3.85 ERA in 29 starts for the Mariners as a rookie last season, a surprising story on a team that opened a lot of eyes with its 87-75 finish in the American League West.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Skipper can gain second-hand measure of success

McClendon looking to follow same winning path like Torre, Cox

Skipper can gain second-hand measure of success

PHOENIX -- Lloyd McClendon was excited when he got his first managerial opportunity with the Pirates.

He was ready when the Mariners gave him a second chance to manager in the big leagues.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners receive update on injured prospect Sanchez

Mariners receive update on injured prospect Sanchez

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners pitching prospect Victor Sanchez remains in a coma in a hospital in Caracas, Venezuela, but his family did receive a small dose of positive news Monday, according to media reports out of Venezuela.

According to Lavinotinto.com, a sports website, Sanchez underwent EEG tests Monday that showed some slight brain activity.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

'Unathletic moment' has Paxton slowed at Mariners camp

'Unathletic moment' has Paxton slowed at Mariners camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Left-hander James Paxton has been held out of throwing for the first three days of Mariners camp due to a strained left forearm that was injured when he fell doing agility drills about a week ago.

Paxton, expected to be a key component in Seattle's rotation, will be sidelined at least a few more days, general manager Jack Zduriencik said on Monday. An MRI exam and X-rays revealed nothing more than bruising, so the lanky southpaw is just behind held back now as a precaution.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hultzen meets milestone with first spring bullpen session

Hultzen meets milestone with first spring bullpen session

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It's far too early in Spring Training to get worked up about how any pitcher looks throwing his first bullpen session. But for the Mariners, just seeing Danny Hultzen firing off a mound on Sunday brought out a lot of smiles.

And no one was happier than Hultzen, who wore an ear-to-ear grin when talking afterward about his initial performance of the spring after missing all of 2014 with surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Wilhelmsen has no regrets about going to arbitration hearing

Right-hander: 'The way I'm looking at it, I won either way'

Wilhelmsen has no regrets about going to arbitration hearing

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Tom Wilhelmsen lost his contract arbitration case against the Mariners, but the 31-year-old right-hander said he'd go through the process again if necessary after rejoining the club.

After he and his agents presented his case to a three-person arbitration panel in Florida on Friday, the panel ruled Saturday in favor of the team and set Wilhelmsen's salary at $1.4 million for this season instead of the $2.2 million he'd requested.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McClendon still deciding on seven- or eight-man bullpen

Manager's decision to make Bloomquist, Weeks utility players takes away room on bench

McClendon still deciding on seven- or eight-man bullpen

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Lloyd McClendon isn't ready to state a preference for a seven- or eight-man bullpen yet, but the Mariners' skipper indicated Sunday he'd like to go with both Willie Bloomquist and Rickie Weeks in utility-type roles this season. And that decision would make things tighter for the pitching staff.

"We'll see how things play out," McClendon said. "I've always been fond of eight guys down there. I'm not sure if it's going to be feasible this year. We'll see."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bloomquist ready to go after knee surgery

Utility man is running and hitting, although Mariners will ease him into things at camp

Bloomquist ready to go after knee surgery

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Willie Bloomquist says he's ready to go right now. Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon says not so fast. But whatever pace is eventually agreed upon, the clear message Saturday was that the Mariners expect the veteran utility man's surgically repaired right knee to be fine when the season opens in April.

While the full squad isn't required in camp until Tuesday, Bloomquist is among the many position players already working out at the Peoria Complex. And the 37-year-old is running and hitting in preparation for his 14th Major League season after spending the offseason rehabbing from microfracture surgery last August.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mariners hoping Saunders can fill open lefty relief role

Former All-Star has made six relief appearances in his 10-year Major League career

Mariners hoping Saunders can fill open lefty relief role

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Joe Saunders never pitched in relief in his first 229 Major League appearances over a 10-year career, but the veteran lefty is prepared for a role reversal as he looks to land a job with the Mariners this spring.

Saunders signed a Minor League deal with an invitation to big-league camp and was one of 28 pitchers taking the field for the first time Saturday as the Mariners opened Spring Training.

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Mariners feeling good about club as camp opens

McClendon: 'I think we've gotten significantly better in a lot of areas'

Mariners feeling good about club as camp opens

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Spring Training officially began Saturday for the Mariners as 28 pitchers and seven catchers took to the practice field for the first time. And manager Lloyd McClendon acknowledged there's a different feel to this season as things got underway.

"Yeah, for a lot of reasons," said the second-year Mariners skipper. "Obviously I know my club a lot better. I think we've gotten significantly better in a lot of areas, or we hope we have. It should be an interesting camp for us."

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

One game could be difference for Mariners

After just missing the postseason last year, Seattle has high expectations

One game could be difference for Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners pitchers and catchers opened Spring Training on Saturday at the Peoria Sports Complex way ahead of where they were a year ago. Last spring, new manager Lloyd McClendon was just settling in. Robinson Cano had just signed as a free agent. Pitchers Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker were injured, leaving gaping holes in the starting rotation.

This spring, everyone is healthy, and expectations for the coming season are high. After the Mariners settled in last season, a club that lost 91 times in 2013 wound up missing the playoffs by a single game.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montero brings new attitude -- and new look -- to Mariners camp

Former top prospect sheds weight, aims to put off-field issues behind him in '15

Montero brings new attitude -- and new look -- to Mariners camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- For Jesus Montero, it's more than just about losing weight. The missing 40-plus pounds on his body are a shocking visual notice of a rigid offseason work program that has him looking like a new man in Mariners camp.

But the Mariners need more than just a physical transformation from the former top catching prospect who now is fighting for a job as a backup first baseman. They want Montero to shed a mistake-prone past, commit himself to being a quality person as well as player, and start fresh after two disappointing seasons that included a pair of lengthy suspensions.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

In bloom: Spring Training has begun for Mariners

Pitchers and catchers report as 'buzz' fills camp for start of 2015 campaign

In bloom: Spring Training has begun for Mariners

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Felix Hernandez is back from his winter globetrotting and ready to roll. Fernando Rodney has his arrow unpacked. Danny Hultzen is eager to begin a new season with a fresh start and a healthy left shoulder.

All but one of the Mariners pitchers and catchers reported to camp on Friday, meaning the offseason is officially over and the fun has begun. But for the Mariners -- like most Major League teams -- reporting day is strictly about taking physical exams and making sure everyone is good to go.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kivlehan hopes to keep surprising Mariners at camp

Versatile prospect broke out in '14 with uncanny ability to drive in runs

Kivlehan hopes to keep surprising Mariners at camp

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Finding playing time and fighting for a position on the Major League roster is not going to be an easy challenge for youngsters in the Mariners' camp this Spring Training, given the raised expectations and arrival of additional veteran help to a club with its sights firmly set on contending for a postseason berth in 2015.

But one of the youngsters to keep an eye on is Patrick Kivlehan, an intriguing athlete and rising prospect in the Mariners' system. The former Rutgers football player has needed to make up for lost time after not playing baseball until his senior year of college, but he opened eyes with his productive bat in the Minors the past three years and now will take part in his first big league camp when Seattle's position players report to Peoria next week.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.