Ferrell to play second for Mariners for HBO, MLB cancer project

Comedian to participate in five Cactus League games today as part of fundraising effort

Ferrell to play second for Mariners for HBO, MLB cancer project

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Will Ferrell didn't crack the Mariners' starting lineup, but the versatile actor will be coming in during the second inning and playing second base when Seattle faces the A's at HoHokam Stadium, manager Lloyd McClendon confirmed Thursday morning.

Ferrell will suit up and compete for 10 teams in a whirlwind day as part of an HBO project that will see the actor attempt to play all nine positions and also hit once, if it all goes to plan.

Ferrell will briefly replace Willie Bloomquist at second base, though Bloomquist will be allowed to return to the game afterward. Seattle's players are as eager as anyone to see how it all works out.

"That's a star," All-Star third baseman Kyle Seager said. "Getting out there and just him being around and on the field, all eyes are going to be on him."

"It's pretty cool," said left fielder Dustin Ackley. "He's a guy everybody has grown up watching and one of the funniest guys on the planet. So to think he's going to be playing in a game with the same jersey is kind of hard to describe. It's just such a cool thing and from what I hear, it's for a great cause, too, so you can't beat that."

In conjunction with Major League Baseball, the project will raise funds to help cancer charities as Ferrell attempts to play in five different Cactus League games in the same day.

Ferrell will suit up for both the Mariners and A's in their 12:05 p.m. PT game at Hohokam Stadium, then head to Tempe to participate in the Cubs-Angels game. He'll then be hustled to Scottsdale for the Reds-D-backs, to Glendale for the Giants-White Sox contest and wrap things up by playing for the Dodgers and Padres at Peoria Stadium

Ferrell is honoring the historic feat by Bert Campaneris five decades ago by playing every position on the field in the same day. Mariners utility man Willie Bloomquist acknowledged he's a little threatened by the new guy.

"A little bit," Bloomquist said with a grin. "There's been a number of people trying to take my job over the years as being a versatile guy, and I know he's extremely versatile himself, judging from the roles he's played in movies. Yeah, I'm looking over my shoulder a little bit."

Bloomquist has never caught or pitched in a game, which Ferrell will attempt to do at some point during the day.

"He's got his work cut out for him," Bloomquist said. "I know from experience that's not an easy day. But judging by the character he is, I think he'll pull it off. He's pretty good at what he does."

General manager Jack Zduriencik said he's heard glowing reports of his new addition.

"I've spent my entire career looking to identify and procure talent," said Zduriencik. "I can say with confidence that I've never scouted a talent like Will before."

Zduriencik, tongue firmly in cheek, said he believes Ferrell is a "seven-tool player" with all the necessary ingredients to be a star.

"We're looking forward to seeing him," Zduriencik said. "He's been highly touted. I've talked to many people that have been close to him. He's dynamic, his personality is one that everyone says is a team leader and the chemistry he'll bring to a team is phenomenal. We're all looking forward to getting to know him a little better.

"I think the intensity he brings to the table in Talladega Nights, when he ran up the race track, you saw quickness, great agility and someone who fears nobody. And, of course, the fierceness he has behind the wheel of an automobile tells me he'll have no fear at the plate."

"I love Will Ferrell. It sounds like a pretty sweet thing they've got going. As long as he doesn't shift over to shortstop," shortstop Brad Miller said. "I know he's a bigger guy, so he's probably got some pop."

An important part of the fundraising efforts will be game-used memorabilia from Ferrell's journey across the five ballparks to be auctioned online later in the year on MLB.com with proceeds being donated to Cancer for College as well as Stand Up To Cancer, a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research.

Ferrell's historic day will be chronicled in the exclusive HBO special which will air later this year and also feature MLB players, managers, coaches, executives and fans. Fans can follow along live and on-demand throughout the day across MLB Network, MLB.com, mariners.com and the official accounts on social media platforms.

"I'm sure it will be colorful, to say the least," said Bloomquist. "I had a chance to meet him in Kansas City and he's a pretty first-class dude. And he's absolutely hilarious. I think all of his movies speak for themselves, and the guys will be pretty excited to see him."

Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.