Pitchers, catchers arrive for new-look Mariners

February 11th, 2019

PEORIA, Ariz. -- While some of the club's catchers took part in pitch-framing drills in the morning and a few players got in some throwing on the field, most of the action at Mariners' Spring Training on Monday was limited to physical exams as pitchers and catchers reported to camp.

The real work begins Tuesday when all 34 pitchers and seven catchers take the field together for the first time, with position players due to arrive Friday for physicals before Saturday's initial full-squad workout.

All 41 players due on Monday reported on time. And now come the introductions.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

Only 12 of the pitchers and two of the catchers were in Major League camp with the Mariners last season. Five others were in the organization in 2018, but 22 of the 41 were added this offseason either by trade, free agent signings or the Rule 5 Draft.

"It will be a process just trying to build relationships with guys," said pitching coach Paul Davis, himself a newcomer both to the Mariners and the Major Leagues after working in the Cardinals' Minor League system the past six years. "We'll just go day by day and kind of see what guys have.

"Obviously there are a few veteran guys, but there's a lot of new guys here that we are giving opportunities. You aren't going to just jump and form conclusions quickly. It's about building relationship and going from there."

Manager Scott Servais, beginning his fourth season at the helm, jokingly noted that either nametags or jerseys with names on the back should be mandatory at all times in the initial days.

"I thought there was a lot with the new faces the first year I got here, but with the new coaches and new players, I'm so happy when they come up and introduce themselves to me," Servais said. "I've been studying mugshots of these guys to try and get a feel. It will take a few days. But I'm excited to be down here. It's going to be a little different camp. There's going to be a lot of educating this year."

Mound sessions begin Tuesday

Tuesday's schedule calls for a 10 a.m. MT team meeting, followed by players taking the field for their first workout from about 11 a.m to 12:30 p.m. MT. The daily practices at the Peoria Sports Complex are open to the public.

Servais said pitchers would be broken into three groups, as in previous years, so about 10-11 pitchers will throw bullpen sessions each day initially.

"Guys will be throwing once every three days, making sure they have time to recover," he said. "We'll get a couple bullpens, into some live BPs and before you know it we'll be into games. Just building guys innings and pitch counts up."

Cactus League play starts Thursday, Feb. 21, so the Mariners have just nine days of workouts before the games begin.

Kikuchi gearing up quickly

New free-agent lefty Yusei Kikuchi isn't wasting any time getting ready as he's been in camp for a week already and threw off the bullpen mound both Saturday and Sunday before taking Monday off.

The 27-year-old will be in the first group of pitchers who'll throw bullpens on Tuesday as well.

"He's an interesting guy. Very impressive so far," said Davis. "He's got a premium fastball, especially as a left-hander. It looks like a swing-and-miss fastball. His slider is clearly a swing-and-miss pitch. He spins the ball well. And his personality, it seems like he wants to be great. I'm really looking forward to working with him and trying to help him."