Notes: Pregame hugs all around
Reitsma eager for game situation; Beltre on family leave
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Good thing the no-fraternization rule doesn't exist in Spring Training.Prior to the Mariners-Cubs Cactus League game on Monday afternoon, managers, coaches and ex-players turned Peoria Stadium into a virtual hug haven. Mariners third-base coach Sam Perlozzo hugged Cubs first-base coach Matt Sinatro. Former Mariners right fielder Jay Buhner hugged Cubs hitting coach Gerald Perry. Manager John McLaren hugged Cubs manager Lou Piniella. And so it went. Here a hug, there a hug, as old acquaintances were renewed in front of the visiting dugout. At one time or another, McLaren, Piniella, Sinatro, Buhner, Perry, Perlozzo, Norm Charlton, Lee Elia and guest camp instructor Rich Amaral were Mariners, many at the same time between 1993 and 2002 -- the franchise's glory years. Monday marked the first time Piniella and McLaren -- a longtime manager-coach tandem -- were opposing managers. "I like seeing Johnny and his coaching staff," Piniella said. "They are all good people." McLaren spent 15 years on Piniella's coaching staffs in Cincinnati, Seattle and Tampa, and could have made it 16 years last season -- if he had wanted to. But McLaren decided to cut ties with Lou and return to Seattle as then-manager Mike Hargrove's bench coach. When Hargrove suddenly resigned on July 1, McLaren took over the team. "I was hoping he would get an opportunity to manage," Piniella said. "Seattle gave him that opportunity, and it was a good choice. He's a good baseball guy, and he surrounded himself with good baseball people. "He should be very successful here, and I hope he is." As usual, Piniella received a warm welcome when he walked onto the field. "It's always fun coming back," he said. "My first thought is, 'My gosh, has this area grown. I can remember the first year here . There was no stadium. That was rough, but it was worth the wait. This is a wonderful facility for Spring Training." Recalling the vast, undeveloped area around the two-team facility, Piniella said, "I wish I would have bought some land. I could own the team." Actually, perhaps both teams. Asked what it would be like to have a Mariners-Cubs World Series, he said, "Wouldn't that be nice? I think both teams going into the season have realistic chances for the postseason, and if you get lucky, why not?" McLaren agreed. "That's about as good as it gets right there," he said. "That would be something special, something to shoot for."
Full speed ahead: The first thing right-hander Chris Reitsma says he does each morning after being awakened by the alarm is, "Look at my arm to make sure everything is good."It was good again Monday morning, one day after he went "full-bore" in a live batting practice session on one of the back fields at the Peoria Sports Complex. "I threw 35 to 40 pitches at 100 percent," he said. "It was a good test, and now I can't wait to get into a game situation and let it go." Reitsma, who is in camp as a non-roster invitee, hopes to earn a spot in the Mariners bullpen and says he is "ahead of the game in terms of where they thought I would be. It's not a surprise to me because of how hard I worked getting to this point. I expected it, and I feel good about how it's going." The veteran reliever is scheduled to pitch in Wednesday's "B" game against the Padres. Short-handed: Third baseman Adrian Beltre will miss a couple days of camp because of the death of his wife's grandmother in Mexico. He is expected to return on Wednesday, go through a workout on Thursday and return to the lineup on Friday, when the Mariners play the Cubs in Mesa. Medical report: Designated hitter Jose Vidro has soreness in his right elbow.
"It's nothing major, but a little sore, and we're going to back him off a little bit," McLaren said.
Catcher Brant Ust, a non-roster invitee, continues to have back spasms, and he's expected to miss three to five days. It's the second time this spring his back has caused him to miss practice time.
Right-hander Anderson Garcia, who had to cut short his bullpen session on Monday because of arm discomfort, was scheduled to be examined by team medical director Dr. Ed Khalfayan.Did you know? The win over the Padres on Sunday afternoon ended the Mariners' two-year Cactus League losing streak against their Spring Training partners -- not counting charity or "B" games. The 6-2 victory was Seattle's first since March 31, 2005. Busy weekend: The first weekend that single-game tickets were sold resulted in 151,397 tickets being purchased, compared to 133,922 last season, the club announced. None of the 81 home games are sold out, but Opening Day against the Rangers and series against the Red Sox (May 26, 27 and 28; July 21, 22 and 23) and the Yankees (Sept. 5, 6 and 7), are the most popular. Up next: For the first time this spring, the Mariners and AL West rival Athletics exchange pitches in a Cactus League game in Phoenix at 12:05 p.m. PT. Right-hander Miguel Batista makes his first Cactus League start, but all eyes will be on R.A. Dickey, a Rule 5 Draft choice. He is scheduled to follow Batista to the mound. Catcher Kenji Johjima will start the game and still will be in the game when Dickey enters. That means Johjima will be catching -- or trying to catch -- a knuckleball for the first time in a game situation.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.