As is the custom in Spring Training, we've got a whole lot of minor news, which creates the illusion of there being major news. There is no major news. There is this news.
- Franklin Gutierrez is going to be away for a couple days as he and his wife visit Luis Salazar in the hospital. Luis Salazar is Guti's wife's father, and yesterday he was involved in a terrible accident. Gutierrez is due to return Friday night, but this is probably one of those instances where he can take all the time that he needs. For the record, I remember in high school our coaches would get on us for sitting on the dugout bench rather than leaning up against the rail while the game was going on, since leaning on the rail showed more commitment. We were just fine being committed from the bench.
- Yesterday, I remarked that there was no excuse for Garrett Olson getting into walk trouble in the eighth inning of a blowout. Today we heard that Olson is sick and was sent home from camp. So there is actually one excuse.
- James Paxton is going to throw his first bullpen tomorrow. It's a completely routine activity made exciting by the fact that it'll be his first, and even though he's probably just going to go out there and throw fastballs at 90% for five minutes, it's one step closer to getting into a game. Games are what we want to see. Games allow us to form conclusive opinions based on extraordinarily limited sample sizes of performance. That James Paxton hung a pitch in the third, so I dunno, I don't think he's gonna make it you guys
- In case you didn't notice, and you probably didn't, Chris Ray has recently been kind of sidelined by a calf strain. He's just fine now, but yesterday he threw in a simulated meaningless game, rather than an actual meaningless game. He'll be back to officially re-enter the interim closer competition some time early next week. Truth be told I'm only highlighting this article because it gives us the following two quotes:
"One of the main reasons I signed here is there are a lot of openings in the bullpen."
"I believe I'm here for a reason."
You are here for a reason. That reason is that there are a lot of openings in the bullpen. Do you even listen to yourself?
Felix Hernandez is going to throw in a B game this Saturday, rather than the "official" game against the A's. The reason given is that Felix just faced the A's, and will face them again on Opening Day, and the Mariners don't want to overexpose him against an opponent if they don't have to. Ultimately this doesn't really make any difference, and the Mariners may even be on to something, but I have a few questions about their explanation.
(1) Are we really still at a point at which Felix is in any way mysterious? What is there left to be figured out?
(2) If the A's hitters would be able to learn more about Felix, couldn't you say the same the other way? Wouldn't that, I dunno, cancel out?
(3) There are three weeks between this Saturday's A's game and the season opener. Do the M's really think the A's hitters would remember everything to such a degree that they'd have an advantage?
(4) Can you really overexpose a pitcher with some of the best stuff in the world?
It's a curious thing to say. On the surface, sure, you buy it. The M's don't want the A's to see more of their ace than they have to. But once you start to dig, I think it kind of falls apart. But hey, bad news, B game opponent.