Wells needs to make his mark in camp
PEORIA, Ariz. -- When the Mariners brought in a host of new outfielders this offseason, it created a bit of a logjam for returning players like Casper Wells. But while newcomers Michael Morse, Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez have gotten much of the early attention, Wells has quietly gone about his work getting ready for the start of Cactus League play.
"This is the fun part," Wells said Thursday. "Let's get it going."
Wells will need to make a mark in Spring Training to give himself a shot. When the squad held outfield cutoff drills on Thursday, the main field had Morse and Bay taking turns in left field, Franklin Gutierrez patrolling center and Michael Saunders and Ibanez splitting time in right.
Wells and the other outfielders were on a second field doing their work. But when live batting practice rolled around, the 28-year-old was hitting the ball as well or better than anyone has in the initial days of camp.
"I felt kind of locked in today," Wells said. "It's just seeing the pitches and slowing the ball down. We'll see tomorrow when we face an opponent. It's a little different when you hop in there and face live pitching.
"You don't get a lot of swings, so I try to make the most of it, even in BP. Then you feel more comfortable when you get into a game situation, you don't feel like you're rushing to catch up. You just stay relaxed and allow your eyes to adjust and see the ball."
As for those eyes? Wells had Lasik eye surgery this offseason and is interested to see if that makes any difference.
"I feel good," he said. "It's nothing like, 'Oh, wow, now I can see.' I was wearing contacts before, so nothing has really changed except it's a little more convenient. But it's nice not having to worry about having something in my eye."
With no Minor League options remaining, Wells will have to make the final 25-man roster or be exposed to waivers, so this spring figures to be an interesting one for him. Two other outfielders in that same boat -- Trayvon Robinson and Mike Carp -- have both been traded.