SEATTLE -- General manager Jack Zduriencik didn’t want to get into a public discussion of the Mariners’ attempt to extend Felix Hernandez’s contract this offseason, but he again made it clear the club wants to keep the 26-year-old ace in a Seattle uniform for as long as possible.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reported Tuesday that the Mariners have at least been weighing a four-year, $100 million extension offer. With Hernandez already owed $40.5 million over the next two seasons, that would bring his current deal to essentially six years at $140 million.
Zduriencik, as per his normal policy, wasn’t discussing any of that at Wednesday’s pre-Spring Training media luncheon.
“I don’t want to comment on that right now,” he said. “I’ll just say this. I’ve made it clear, any time anyone’s asked me, I have every intention of keeping Felix here for the long term.”
Mariners to host pair of fireworks nights
SEATTLE -- For the first time since Safeco Field opened in 1999, the Mariners will have postgame fireworks displays following two home games this season, the club announced Wednesday.
The Mariners will team with Pyro Spectaculars, the company that produces the New Year’s Eve at the Space Needle show, to provide postgame shows following two Friday night games – June 28 against the Cubs and Aug. 9 against the Brewers.
The club has been limited in its fireworks offerings in the past due to the City of Seattle’s worry about traffic safety on nearby Interstate 5, but Mariners marketing director Kevin Martinez and officials from Pyro Spectaculars met with fire department officials last summer to develop a show that is compliant with the city's concerns.
“Fireworks have a long tradition in Major League Baseball and we’re excited to bring that to Safeco Field,” said Martinez. “Hopefully it becomes a new summer tradition here in Seattle.”
The two fireworks nights were part of the special events schedule released by the team, which also includes Ken Griffey Jr.’s induction into the Mariners Hall of Fame on Aug. 10, a Felix Hernandez “Perfect Game” bobblehead night on May 25, a Dustin Ackley “gnome” giveaway on July 13, bat night on April 27 and the introduction of a combination “beard-hat” night on April 26.
The full schedule of events can be seen at mariners.com/promotions.
Ryan, Ackley fully recovered from surgeries
SEATTLE -- Mariners trainer Rick Griffin gave his annual health update at Wednesday’s pre-Spring Training media luncheon, and the report was unusually short after what Griffin said was a year when Seattle players had the fewest games on the disabled list in the Majors.
Griffin said shortstop Brendan Ryan and second baseman Dustin Ackley were both fully recovered from offseason arthroscopic surgeries to remove bone spurs. Ryan had his throwing elbow cleaned up, while Ackley repaired a sore left ankle.
Griffin said Ackley’s nagging issue certainly affected his hitting in 2012 as he struggled to push off his plant foot.
“You could ask him better, but I observed as well as some other people that he was really unable to stay on his back foot and drive off that leg,” Griffin said. “I think it hindered him quite a bit. He’ll probably never say that. But on some day games, he’d walk into the training room and we didn’t know if it was a 23-year-old or a 93-year-old.”
Griffin said Ryan is throwing up to 120 feet now and is hitting and “doing all the things he was unable to do last year prior to Spring Training. He’s feeling great.”
Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez will be at this weekend’s FanFest at Safeco Field and Griffin said he’s had an excellent offseason, including a strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League.
“He’s not having any issues of any kind,” Griffin said. “Anything he’s had in the last three years, they do not exist. He’s going in with good frame of mind and we’re just hoping everything works out. He’s been snake bit the last three years, but hopefully this year we can get back to the way things were.”
Veteran right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, a non-roster invite who is coming back from Tommy John surgery, has already reported to Peoria, Ariz., to get some early work and is throwing off a mound. Griffin said he should be on the same schedule as the rest of the pitchers when camp opens Feb. 12.