02/14/12 6:18 PM EST
Robinson arrives at camp eager to start work
By Greg Johns / MLB.com
Robinson, acquired from the Dodgers in the three-team deal involving Erik Bedard at the July 31 Trade Deadline, hit just .210 in 143 at-bats for Seattle. But he said he worked hard on using his hands more during the offseason and is eager to put that to the test in batting practice.
"I think I got away from what I do best," he said. "But I'm putting last year behind me. This is a fresh start and I'm looking forward to getting after it."
Robinson said the death of teammate Greg Halman in the Netherlands in November was a sharp reminder of how fleeting life can be.
"As a human race, we seem to take a lot of things for granted," said the youngster. "That hit hard. I didn't get to know him as well as I wanted, but I know he was a good guy, a hard worker and a really good player."
Robinson spent much of the offseason in Arizona working on his game, and now will enter the competition for playing time among a large group of Mariners outfield candidates that includes Mike Carp, Casper Wells, Michael Saunders, Carlos Peguero, Johermyn Chavez and Chih-Hsien Chiang looking to land the left field job.
Position players aren't required to be in camp until Friday, but Robinson joined an early group that now includes Saunders, Peguero, Justin Smoak, Kyle Seager, Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, Nick Franklin, Alex Liddi and Munenori Kawasaki.
Liddi to get reps at first base this spring
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners third base prospect Alex Liddi will get some playing time at first base this spring, manager Eric Wedge said Tuesday, as the club looks to add more opportunities for the youngster from Italy.
Liddi, 23, played strictly third base during his September callup with Seattle last season when he batted .225 with three home runs and six RBIs in 15 games. But he has played 53 games at first base over his six years in the Minor Leagues, including two games last year at Triple-A Tacoma.
He played 115 games with the Rainiers at third base in 2011, however, and 24 at shortstop. His last extensive duty at first was in 2010, when he played there for 23 of his 140 games with Double-A West Tennessee.
"We'll bounce him between first and third," Wedge said. "As he's working to make that transition from Minor Leagues to the big leagues, we're not sure how that will play out this spring and I want that to be an option for him. It can only help him and help us with that versatility."
At 6-foot-4, 230 pounds, Liddi is a big third base candidate. He'll compete for playing time there with Kyle Seager and Chone Figgins this spring, and the club also has a top prospect in Francisco Martinez, the 21-year-old acquired in the Doug Fister trade last season.
The Mariners have Justin Smoak at first, with Mike Carp also capable of playing there as well as left field. But Liddi adds to the mix.
"He's a big kid, a right-hander and moves around well," Wedge said. "I think it's a good thing. And he's dabbled over there before."
Eighteen pitchers threw their second bullpen sessions of camp on Tuesday, as the Mariners continued having their troops throw on alternate days. The other half of the pitchers will throw Wednesday, and each group will wind up having three bullpen sessions before live batting practice starts when the full squad hits the field for the first time on Saturday.
Manager Eric Wedge said everyone threw well and came out healthy. The group included starters Felix Hernandez, Jason Vargas, Blake Beavan and Charlie Furbush, as well as top young prospects Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, Taijuan Walker and Erasmo Ramirez.
Lefty reliever Hong-Chih Kuo, coming off an injury plagued 2011 with the Dodgers, also threw and looked strong for a second straight outing.
Looking for more opportunities for their 35 pitchers in camp, the Mariners have added another Cactus League game, scheduling a split-squad contest with Milwaukee for Friday, March 16, at 1:05 p.m. PT in Tucson. Seattle will also play the A's at 7:05 p.m. that night in Phoenix.
Former Mariners catcher Chris Gimenez, who was designated for assignment to clear room on the 40-man roster following the free-agent signings of Kuo and Shawn Camp, has cleared waivers and declined being optioned to Triple-A by the Mariners. That makes the veteran a free agent eligible to sign with any club when his 10-day window is up on Thursday. It appears likely he could end up with the Pirates, where his versatility may be more useful in the National League.