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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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.
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Just chatted with Lance Painter, the former big league pitcher who handled James Paxton and Erasmo Ramirez in Class AA last season. Painter has had the chance to observe both guys up close this spring -- along with Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker -- and does not expect any of the quartet to b overcome with nerves during today's intra-squad game.
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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.
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