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Mariners get rolling for spring on Truck Day

Clubhouse staff braves snow to get team packed for Arizona
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- For the Mariners, Truck Day is an annual reminder that Spring Training is indeed just around the corner. This year, that reminder came with an added exclamation point as the club's 18-wheeler departed for Arizona on Monday -- albeit slightly later than planned -- amid the first significant snowfall of winter in Seattle.

The 5-6 inches of snow on the ground didn't deter the Mariners' equipment truck as the clubhouse staff loaded the 18-wheeler with gear and sent it on its way for the 1,400-mile journey to the club's Spring Training complex in Peoria, Ariz.

SEATTLE -- For the Mariners, Truck Day is an annual reminder that Spring Training is indeed just around the corner. This year, that reminder came with an added exclamation point as the club's 18-wheeler departed for Arizona on Monday -- albeit slightly later than planned -- amid the first significant snowfall of winter in Seattle.

The 5-6 inches of snow on the ground didn't deter the Mariners' equipment truck as the clubhouse staff loaded the 18-wheeler with gear and sent it on its way for the 1,400-mile journey to the club's Spring Training complex in Peoria, Ariz.

Rather than an expected noon PT departure, the truck didn't leave until around 4:30 p.m., after having to chain up just to get to T-Mobile Park around midday.

"The snow set us back about 3-4 hours," Mariners clubhouse manager Ryan Stiles said. "But they really wanted to get out of here tonight because it's supposed to drop to 19 degrees and they didn't want to mess with that."

The truck is still scheduled to arrive in Peoria overnight on Wednesday, and Stiles and his crew will begin unpacking and setting up for camp on Thursday morning.

"He probably won't get in until 3-4 in the morning, which will affect him more than us," Stiles said. "But we'll be up bright and early on Thursday."

Stiles said it was the first time in his six years as clubhouse manager that snow impacted the departure from Seattle, though the truck has had to re-route several times to avoid winter weather in the Siskiyou Mountains on its southern journey.

Because the Mariners' office was closed on Monday due to the snow, Stiles didn't have access to the stadium's normal fork lift driver and extra help. But with a "lot of huffing and puffing," his clubhouse crew got the job done and had the truck on its way before sundown.

The Mariners cram everything possible on the 53-foot trailer, from medical and training equipment to uniforms, gear and personal items for players and staff. It's a mix of anything from baby cribs and bicycles to baseballs and bats.

Spring Training officially begins on Monday, Feb. 11, when pitchers and catchers are required to report for physical exams.

The first workout for pitchers and catchers will be Tuesday, Feb. 12, with position players reporting for physicals on Friday, Feb. 15. The first full-squad workout will be Saturday, Feb. 16, with the first Cactus League game coming on Thursday, Feb. 21 against the A's at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Seattle Mariners