Ackley working in spring for fast start in April

Outfielder will get extra at-bats in Cactus League action, hoping to get into groove

Ackley working in spring for fast start in April

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.

More

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.

Rain wipes out Mariners' only scheduled intrasquad game

Paxton, Iwakuma limited because of weather, but still throw

Rain wipes out Mariners' only scheduled intrasquad game

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.

More

Weeks likely to be part of corner-outfield platoon

Manager McClendon will let matchups dictate personnel; Paxton throws off flat ground

Weeks likely to be part of corner-outfield platoon

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.

More

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.

Walker to start Cactus League opener vs. Padres

Young righty in competition for No. 5 starter job

Walker to start Cactus League opener vs. Padres

PEORIA, Ariz. -- A year ago, Taijuan Walker barely even had the luxury of a Spring Training to prepare himself for the regular season. This year, he's going to be the first Mariners pitcher to get the ball in live game action.

Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon named Walker the starter for the club's Cactus League opener against the Padres on Wednesday afternoon.

More

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rule 5 pick Rollins aims to nail down lefty role in 'pen

Southpaw brings experience as starter in Minors

Rule 5 pick Rollins aims to nail down lefty role in 'pen

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.

More

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ramirez, Pries among arms to take mound in intrasquad game

Mariners to get look at several pitchers battling for roster spots

Ramirez, Pries among arms to take mound in intrasquad game

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Erasmo Ramirez and Jordan Pries will start Monday's intrasquad game for the Mariners -- though with rain in the forecast, the game is weather permitting.

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.

More

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

McClendon: Jackson key to 'jumpstart' Mariners offense

Seattle to give center fielder more rest in 2015

McClendon: Jackson key to 'jumpstart' Mariners offense

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.

More

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Montero appears primed for breakout season in 2015

Young talents like Montero, Moustakas, Myers ready to take next step

Montero appears primed for breakout season in 2015

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.

More

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.

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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."

More

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."

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.

More

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.