Robinson Cano returned to spring training and will be in the Mariners lineup Saturday. He’s been in his native Dominican Republic for several days for the funeral of Ovidio Cano, his grandfather, with whom he was close.
“He always loved to go to the games,” Cano told MLB.com’s Greg Johns. “He’d come to New York every year to see me play. When I was a kid, I used to live at his house, because my dad was playing eight months here. I’d always go to my grandpa’s. And we’d go every weekend. I was always, always around him.”
Ovidio watched his grandson play while in New York, but never made it to Seattle for Cano’s first season. After Ovidio was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, Cano asked and received permission from the Mariners to play five games this winter for the Estrellas team in the DR, so Ovidio could attend.
“He was a guy who had all my numbers. He always wrote down my stats,” Cano said. “He followed everything. He’d call me sometimes and say, ‘How you doing?’ I’d say, ‘I’m good.’ And he’d say, ‘Last year at this time, you were hitting .330, 10 homers, 40 RBIs. So this year, you need five RBIs, one homer and three hits to be where you were last year.’ Those are the things that really motivate me.”
Singles day in Mariners win
SS Chris Taylor had three hits, including a triple, and J.A. Happ gave up a hit in a scoreless three inning start as the Mariners clobbered the Milwaukee Brewers 10-5 Friday at Peoria Stadium (box score).
Happ threw 30 strikes in 43 pitches, Seth Smith had the only other extra-base hit among Seattle’s 14 with a double and Dustin Ackley had a pair of its as the Mariners improved their Cactus League mark to 5-6.
Ferrell now knows baseball fear
Surviving his one-day, 10-team, nine position, one-day odyssey through the Cactus League Thursday, what was Will Ferrell’s big takeaway?
“The ball moves fast out there, a lot faster than it looks on television,” he said.”It’s like a speeding bullet. It’s horrible, terrifying.”
He played a half-inning at second base for the Mariners in their game in Mesa against the A’s, who got a half-inning from him at shortstop. He saw no action at either spot, but seemed good in both dugouts at fist-bumping and high-fiving.
Mariners starter Jordan Pries had to deal on the mound with all the hub-bub of the comedian’s appearance, part of a segment for HBO’s Funny or Die series.
“I never would have thought Will Ferrell would play second base behind me,” he told reporters. “Honestly, I didn’t want anything to go that way, but I was just trying to pitch. Once the ball leaves my hand, I have no control. I didn’t realize what a spectacle, a circus, it was going to be. You want to get your work in but you want to have fun, too.”
Ferrell picked up the mic at his last stop, Peoria Stadium, after his 8½-hour journey that he managed partly via use of a helicopter to get around Phoenix’s notorious day-long traffic jams.
“Ruth, Musial, Mantle, Will Ferrell,” he said, addressing the crowd. “Who would have thought that one day those names would be synonymous? Show of hands –scratch that, never mind . . . There’s no doubt I turned some heads today, even if it was just for a moment. I brought passion to the field, dedication, ability and a lot of ignorance.
“Was I the best player on the field today? Maybe, maybe.”
Then he led the crowd in a chant: “May-be, may-be, may-be.”
Austin Jackson may be the key to the Mariners’ season, writes Jason Churchill of AM 1090 the Fan, because if he plays as poorly as he did after arriving in Seattle at midseason, the club has this season no one in the organization close to the skillset needed to hit leadoff.
MLB introduced a new safety cap for pitchers on the mound. These are unlikely to be seen among the fashion mavens at the Kentucky Derby, but new Mariners pitcher J.A. Happ certainly has a story to tell about being hit in the head while on the mound.
The latest prodigy from Cuba, 19-year-old Yoan Moncada, was introduced Friday by the Boston Red Sox. He hasn’t played competitively in 15 months, but that didn’t stop the Red Sox from signing him formally Friday for $31.5 million.