Found February 25, 2012 on
There were a couple of key defensive plays that went largely unnoticed by casual observers of yesterday's game, but which did resonate with some members of the front office.
How do I know this? I was standing right in front of them shooting photos.
Anyhow, one came on the photo you see above, where catcher Jesus Montero slides to his let to block a pitch in the dirt from James Paxton. There were runners on second and third with one out at the time and the block saved a run from scoring. Moments later, Paxton struck out Casper Wells, then escaped the inning after that.
"I thought he did a good job back there,'' Mariners manager Eric Wedge said of Montero afterwards. "I thought he did a good job of moving around, blocking the ball...and he was catching those young kids with good stuff. Those are live arms and the ball's getting on him really quick. So, I was really impressed with what we saw out of him.''
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Another Mariners intra-squad game has come and gone, this one won 7-3 by Team 2 after it fell behind 2-0 early on.
Plenty of extra-base hits today, beginning with the Franklin Gutierrez solo homer to left off Felix Hernandez at the very start of the game. That's as many home runs as Gutierrez had all of last season.
Dustin Ackley hit a two-run homer off Josh Kinney in the fifth...
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Franklin Gutierrez, seen in the photo above taking BP earlier this morning, will be starting in center and batting leadoff for Team 2 today in his first spring training intra-squad action. Jesus Montero will be batting cleanup for Team 2 and catching.
For frequent updates, stay tuned right here and to my Twitter feed @gbakermariners.
PHOTO: Erasmo Ramirez lets fly with a pitch to Vinnie Catricala in today's intra-squad game.
Some of the best stuff we witnessed in today's 3-3 intra-squad tie happened at the very beginning of the game. Chone Figgins came up in the bottom of the first inning and worked a 10-pitch walk against Danny Hultzen.
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Much is riding on Montero's development behind the plate. He's getting plenty of support in spring camp from veterans Guillermo Quiroz and Miguel Olivo.