Seattle Mariners - PlayerWatch
OF Dustin Ackley came into spring training with an inside track on the Mariners' starting job in left field, and he has done nothing to disprove that notion. Over his first eight games of the spring, Ackley hit .468 with a home run and a team-high nine RBIs. The only question with Ackley seems to be whether he will challenge Michael Saunders for the starting job in center field.
RHP Taijuan Walker is back throwing after being shut down for a week to rest soreness in his throwing shoulder. However, the Tacoma News Tribune reported that Walker, the team's top prospect and a leading candidate for the starting rotation, probably will not be ready to make his season debut until mid-April.
Felix Hernandez while RHP Hisashi Iwakuma recovers from an injury to a tendon in the middle finger of his right hand.
SS Brad Miller's role as the incumbent might give him an inside track on the job, especially when considering his success as a leadoff hitter for stretches last season. Nick Franklin does not fit the profile of a typical leadoff man -- he is shown more power than speed -- but is a switch hitter, which could be a bonus on a team heavy with left-handed hitters like Miller.
3B D.J. Peterson, who is coming off a nasty injury after having his jaw broken as a rookie late last summer, got off to a hot start by hitting safely in four of his first seven at-bats of the spring. The Mariners' first-round pick in last June's draft, Peterson appears to be back on track after the injury.
RHP Erasmo Ramirez put together three consecutive solid starts this spring, and they came at a good time for a team desperate for starting pitching. Ramirez was 2-0 with a 1.04 ERA through his first three starts of the spring. Even more important, he showed the command (seven strikeouts and just one walk) that eluded him at times last season.
RHP Fernando Rodney made his Mariners spring debut March 6 when he gave up two hits and a run in an inning. Seattle's likely closer, Rodney got touched up for two hits and two runs in 2/3 of an inning in his next outing -- leaving a bit of a question as to how much the soon-to-be-37-year-old has left in his tank. Seattle has two other relievers with closing experience in Danny Farquhar and Tom Wilhelmsen, but it is Rodney's job for as long as the veteran closer can run with it.
RHP Felix Hernandez did not seem to concerned about a four-hit, four-run, 2 1/3-inning performance in his March 9 start. "I was (mad) because I want to throw zeros out there," he told MLB.com after the outing, "but it's spring training so I don't care too much."
1B Jesus Montero took his first step toward getting out of the organization's doghouse during the weekend of March 8-9, when he turned in a two-homer performance while raising his spring batting average to .350. Montero showed up for the spring out of shape but seems to be making strides. "He was better the last few days. We'll see how it goes," manager Lloyd McClendon told MLB.com. "He's doing better. He knows what he's got to do. The ball's in his court and he's starting to play a little better."