Japanese media were on hand to capture Ichiro’s first day of Spring Training in Peoria
Under sunny skies (finally) and cool temperature (in the 40s), the Mariners gathered for their first full-scale workout this morning on Field 3 of the Peoria Sports Complex.
Before stretching and going through fundamental drills and a somewhat dry field, general manager Don Wakamatsu and GM Jack Zduriencik addressed the team inside the clubhouse.
“Jack gets jup and speaks and after he gets done, I told the club that first rule as a manager is never to let an ex-football coach speak before you. He had them entertained.”
Before becoming a scout, Zduriencik was an assistant football coach in high school and Austin Peay University.
A large contingent of Japanese media was on hand to film Ichiro’s first workout of the spring, which started his 10th Major League season.
With Ichiro here and fellow Japanese icon Hideki Matsui with the Angels in Tempe, there will be a lot of attention being generated on March 21, when the the AL West rivals meet in Tempe, and again two days later in a rematch at Peoria Stadium. It’s their only two meetings of the spring.
“I’m looking forward to the Anaheim series and see how big that can truly get,” Wakamatsu said. “I left here at 6:15 Monday evening) and there were people waiting for Ichiro. He’s a special player.”
In other news:
— Cliff Lee will throw his first bullpen tomorrow, the first major test for his surgically-repaired left foot.
— Right-hander Doug Fister, who did not throw his second bullpen on Monday as scheduled because of some stiffness in his right arm, threw today and “seems to be back on track,” according to Wakamatsu.
— Asked what he likes about Milton Bradley so far, Wak said, “His smile. That’s probably the biggest thing. I had an opportunity to bring him in the office yesterday and we had a great talk. I told him, ‘I didn’t know anything about you.’ He opened up a little bit and I talked a little about myself, and it was a good meeting.”
As for Bradley’s past troubles, Wakamatsu said, “They’re there,but I wasn’t there. That’s what I told Milton. Let’s get to know each other and let’s move from here. He seems to be happy and our job is to keep it that way.”
— The players appear to have reported in good shape. “I’m real happy about it,” Wakamatsu said. “Overall, I think the doctors and the trainers have raved abou the shape a lot of these guys are in.”
— It was, er, interesting to see Jose Lopez taking ground balls at third base and Chone Figgins at second. Stay tuned on that one.
— Jim Street