It's been such a busy week for the Seattle Mariners that I pretty much forgot spring training was underway. With news of the Felix Hernandez contract extension, I completely overlooked the fact that pitchers and catchers had reported, and that was only in part because I don't give a shit about pitchers and catchers. But pitchers and catchers are down in Peoria working out, and maybe other position players are too, I don't know, and as your leading source of Seattle Mariners hot news and crack analysis, I feel it's my obligation to provide for you a Seattle Mariners spring training update. For those of you who have been too distracted by the Felix news or the Jon Garland news or the Joe Saunders news or the Shawn Kelley news or other news, allow me to bring you up to speed:
Mariners players are optimistic and motivated
It would be a bummer to hear that Mariners players are pessimistic and unmotivated, although the former would probably follow from the latter. But there's not a single player in camp who's gone on record as saying he doesn't care, and the Mariners are doomed to finish in the basement. The Mariners feel good about their chances, because they're all fantastically good at baseball, and how much better could the better players and teams be, really? At that level, what's the difference between an average player and a good player? Last year the A's and Orioles took everyone by surprise, and many Mariners feel like this team could do the same thing in 2013, and it's good to know the Mariners believe in themselves because holy hell would the alternative be depressing. Everybody is excited to put their lumps behind them and move forward, all the better for it. Surely 2013 will bring no injuries or surprising underperformance.
Mariners pitchers are working on their pitcher fielding practice (PFP)
The surest sign of spring is beat writer TwitPics of pitchers in camps working on defense off the mound. PFP is a baseball practice staple, and the Mariners are no different, as they're also working on getting their pitchers familiar with what to do in different defensive situations. If the Mariners skipped PFP, if they just never did it, Mariners pitchers might be at a defensive disadvantage, relative to the rest of the league. But the Mariners are most definitely not skipping PFP, so said disadvantage shouldn't come into play. These pitchers will be trained the same as other pitchers.
No Mariners pitcher or catcher has testicular cancer or a failing liver or kidney
I don't know all the ins and outs of what goes into a baseball player's spring-training physical, and I suspect it differs team by team, but I have a pretty good idea of some of the details, and, good news! No Mariners player so far has a suspicious lump in his genitals, nor have any of them shown particularly worrisome bloodwork. If any of them have anything sinister going on, health wise, it's gone by either undetected or unreported. Note of course that Carlos Guillen tested negative for tuberculosis the year he contracted and played for months through tuberculosis. So we're not completely out of the woods, but it seems to me no Mariners player so far is dying, any more than the rest of us healthy types are dying. (We are all dying.) (Go outside.)
Robert Andino is a Mariner
I haven't actually read anything about Robert Andino yet this month, so there still exists the slim possibility his whole existence is a hoax, but according to the Mariners' official roster of players, Robert Andino is on it, and this is something everyone should try to remember since Andino is virtually guaranteed to get a spot on the bench and play reasonably often. The other day, the Orioles designated Trayvon Robinson for assignment, and he cleared waivers and remained in the organization. Robinson is the guy the Mariners traded for Andino, but ever since then, I know I've forgotten at least a half-dozen times that Andino is on this team now. Whenever I'm drawing up the Mariners' roster in a spreadsheet, I fail to pull Andino's name off the top of my head. Maybe he wouldn't slip my mind so often if I didn't eat so many bananas. That's a banana-peel joke. And a lie, because I don't eat many bananas. Anyhoo, Robert Andino: Seattle Mariner. The more you read it now, the less weird it'll sound in time. Or the more you'll just be able to recall it in time.
Felix is there now
Felix had to be in Seattle for his Wednesday press conference, but now he's in Arizona with everyone else. So for those of you who were worried that Felix might sign his contract and then immediately abandon his team, we know now that said abandoning will at the very least not be so immediate.