Ken Griffey Jr. gets welcome back reception from Mariners fans
The second full day of workouts for pitchers and catchers is in the books and what an interesting day it was.
Shortly before 9 a.m. the volume in the clubhouse went up a few notches when Ken Griffey Jr. walked in and lit up the room. He exchanged greetings with the pitchers, catchers and the media. As I have reminded many times during the past 21 years, without us no one would know who he is. Naturally, he doesn’t agree and says he made us. You be the judge.
Griffey reported to camp four days sooner than position players’ reporting date.
“He looks to be in pretty good shape,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He came in like a boxer (wearing a baggy sweat-suit outfit) and I told him that wasn’t fair. But from all indications, he looks in pretty good shape.”
As for the “300 shuttle”, Wak joked that Griffey would “run the 50.”
The shuttle is a series of six, 50-yard dashes, 100-yards at a time. It can be a gruelling test for anyone not in really good shape.
In other Day Two highlights:
–Left-hander Cliff Lee moved closer to being able to participate in the PFP (pitcher’s fielding practice) drills.
“I would say within two days he would be out there, but it’s just a guess,” Wakamatsu said. “I talked to him today and he said it (left foot) feels pretty good. It might be as early as tomorrow or could be two days from now. I think we are progressing pretty well.”
— Catcher Rob Johnson caught his first bullpen — and wanted more.”He looked good and wanted to catch more than one guy,” Wakamatsu said. “We have to hold him back a little bit and have some time with him. The biggest thing is you watch him swing the bat and there is a noticeable difference in his movement.
“He knows it and has talked already about the catching part of it and how much freer he feels. It’s just amazing to go through that kind of surgery and be where he’s at right now. We’re pretty happy with his progress. I like to think positive and believe he will be ready for the (regular) season, but another part of me says you just don’t know until the games start because there is such a different level. We’re hoping to manufacture that slowly and get him to where he can do just about everything and test it. Where he is right now, you wouldn’t know he had surgery.”
Johnson, the projected No. 1 catcher, had surgery on both hips and his left wrist during the offseason.
He added some weight because he couldn’t work out as much, but that’s not a concern.
“He looks big and strong and catching-wise, you are going to drop about 10 pounds (in Spring Training) depending on who you are talking about,” Wakamatsu said. “I always lost that about 10 pounds. Going through rehab forces you to get in the best shape of your life and I think Rob, even though he has gained some weight, his legs are really strong.”
— Left-hander Ryan Feierabend, who missed all of last season after having Tommy John ligament replacement surgery, threw his first bullpen of the spring today.
“I was really impressed,” Wakamatsu said. “You have a mental picture coming in (to camp), especially with a Tommy John guy. For me, it’s always the second year. The first year the arm strength is there, but the command is not there. I was extremely impressed with what I saw and the feel he had.”
— Jim Street