Piniella to enter Mariners' Hall of Fame
Longtime manager will be inducted Aug. 9, becoming eighth Seattle honoree
SEATTLE -- Lou Piniella, the only manager with a winning record in the history of the Mariners, will become the eighth member of the organization's Hall of Fame when he's inducted on Aug. 9, the club announced Thursday.
Piniella will be honored at a luncheon at Safeco Field on Aug. 8, then inducted into the team's Hall of Fame the following day prior to that evening's game against the White Sox.
Piniella, 70, joins the seven current members of the Mariners' Hall of Fame -- Alvin Davis, Dave Niehaus, Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, Dan Wilson and Ken Griffey Jr.
Piniella took the Mariners to their first playoff appearance in 1995, and he wound up managing four postseason teams -- including the 116-win club in 2001 -- while posting an 840-711 record (.542 percent) in his 10 seasons in Seattle.
In 23 years as a Major League manager with the Yankees (1986-88), Reds (1990-92), Mariners (1993-2002), Rays (2003-05) and Cubs (2007-10), Piniella had a career .517 winning percentage (1,835-1,712) and won Manager of the Year honors in 1995, 2001 and 2008.
Players who competed for Piniella said he changed the entire culture of the Mariners upon his arrival.
"Lou Piniella was bigger than life," said Buhner. "There was no question what the goal was every day when the players walked into the clubhouse -- win tonight's game. Anything less was not acceptable."
Wilson, who played for Piniella both with the Reds and then the Mariners, said he owed a lot in his career to the fiery skipper.
"I'm super excited for him," Wilson said. "The fans just love to see him, and I can't wait to hear that ovation when they introduce his name into the Hall of Fame. It's very well deserved. He's a guy that demanded your respect, demanded your best every day.
"Nobody in the ballpark wanted to win more than Lou, especially when we were in New York. He was a manager you loved to play for, because you knew he was in your corner and would do everything he could do that day to win a ballgame. It was a lot of fun playing for him."
As a player, Piniella was selected by the Seattle Pilots in the 1968-69 expansion draft, but he was traded to the Kansas City Royals during Spring Training in 1969. In a 16-year career, he compiled a .291 batting average with 1,705 hits, 102 home runs, 305 doubles and 766 RBIs.
Piniella and his wife, Anita, are living in their hometown of Tampa, Fla., and he plans to provide color commentary on several Yankees telecasts again in 2014.
Pryor could miss several months of 2014 season
SEATTLE -- Mariners reliever Stephen Pryor, who missed almost all of the 2013 season with shoulder problems, is just beginning a throwing program at his offseason home in Tennessee, and he doesn't figure to be game ready until several months into the season, trainer Rob Nodine said on Thursday.
Pryor had surgery to repair a torn latissimus dorsi muscle on Aug. 9 after attempting to return much of last year following an early-season injury. The hard-throwing right-hander threw 7 1/3 scoreless innings in seven appearances in the first two weeks of the season, then went on the disabled list.
He made five Minor League rehab appearances in July, but eventually underwent season-ending surgery and is just now starting to throw again.
"There's been very few of these injuries that have been surgically repaired," Nodine said when asked to estimate how soon Pryor might be available to pitch. "A lot will depend on when he ramps up his throwing program and gets off the mound. Hopefully it will be somewhere around the end of May, we're guessing, but we'll see how that goes. We're not going to hold him to a timetable, just because we want to see how this progresses."
Nodine said Jake Peavy had a similar injury, but said there have only been three similar surgeries on a torn lat muscle with baseball players.
"It's a long rehab progress, so that's why we're going slow with it and speaking with his doctor," Nodine said. "He's been doing great so far and is very excited. When he gets to Spring Training, he'll continue to progress, as his doctor permits."
The Mariners' other serious injury rehab involves left-handed starter Danny Hultzen, who has already been ruled out for 2014 after having rotator cuff surgery. Nodine said Hultzen is on the verge of beginning a throwing program that the club will oversee in Arizona as he begins his return.
On other health fronts, Nodine said outfielder/first basemen Corey Hart and Logan Morrison are both working out at full speed and having no issues as they return from knee injuries. Hart missed all of 2013 for the Brewers after having microfracture surgery on both knees, while Morrison has missed the past two Spring Trainings with the Marlins due to knee surgeries on his right knee.
"As Spring Training is going along, we'll have to monitor their playing time so we don't just throw them into the fire right off the bat," said Nodine. "But both of them are doing very, very good."
First baseman Jesus Montero has recovered from a hand injury that required stitches after being involved in a car accident while playing winter ball in Venezuela, he and will report to camp early -- with the pitchers and catchers -- on Feb. 12. Montero is being viewed primarily as a first baseman now, though general manager Jack Zduriencik said he might see a little duty behind the plate early in camp when extra catchers are needed.
• The Mariners announced their special promotions for 2014 on Thursday, and this year's schedule includes three postgame fireworks nights -- June 27 vs. the Indians, July 25 against the Orioles and Aug. 29 against the Nationals. The club is on the road in Chicago on the Fourth of July.
• One of the new promotions this year is a "Bark in the Park" night, when fans will be allowed to bring their dogs to the July 8 game against the Twins and run around the bases following the contest with their pups, according to vice president of marketing Kevin Martinez.
• Seven Cactus League games will be televised this spring by ROOT Sports, starting March 12 against the Cubs at 7:05 p.m. PT from Peoria, Ariz. Other TV games will be March 15 vs. the Giants (1:05 p.m.), March 18 and 21 vs. the Padres (both at 7:05 p.m.) and three games against the Rockies on March 22 (delayed to 5 p.m.), March 28 (7:05 p.m.) and March 29 (12:10 p.m.)
As for radio, 27 of the 33 spring games will be carried by 710 ESPN Seattle, beginning with the Cactus League opener against the Padres on Feb. 27 at 12:05 p.m. PT. Of those, 19 will be carried live, while eight midweek day games will be aired on a delayed basis at 7 p.m., and will also be available live at no charge on Mariners.com.