Servais eager to lay out 'vision' for 2016

Iwakuma, Karns among pitchers throwing bullpen sessions

Servais eager to lay out 'vision' for 2016

PEORIA, Ariz. -- With all 23 position players reporting to camp on Wednesday for physical exams as expected, the Mariners will take the field as a full squad Thursday morning at the Peoria Sports Complex. And that will be a welcome step for new manager Scott Servais, who has spent the last week getting to know the 28 pitchers and six catchers already at camp.

"We're off to a good start," Servais said on Wednesday. "I'm really happy with the way camp has gone and the interaction between the players and coaches and among themselves. Tomorrow will be a big day. Everybody will be excited and getting the whole crew together and getting the plan laid out and make sure they all understand what the vision is."

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Servais, in his first year as a manager after 10 seasons in player development with the Rangers and Angels, will address the team as a group for the first time Thursday morning. And, yes, he's been pondering his opening remarks for some time.

"I'm not going to lie. I'm excited," said the former big league catcher. "I think it's important. This is my 28th Spring Training, and I've heard a lot of speeches, but you want to be yourself, and that's what I will convey to the group tomorrow. This is who I am, and also let them be themselves."

Position players will be exposed quickly to one of Servais' ploys, which is calling on players to talk about themselves and open up in front of the group when they gather for team meetings. With 30 of the 58 players in camp being new to the club this spring, introductions have been important.

"We've made it fun," Servais said. "That's sped up the process, so we're not just looking around [going], 'What's this guy's name again and what's on the back of his jersey?' I think we're well on the way to getting where we need to go. Again, it's being ready for April 4 -- when the bell rings."

Around the horn
• Starters Hisashi Iwakuma and Nathan Karns were among the pitchers throwing bullpen sessions on Wednesday as the Mariners continued gearing toward their Cactus League opener on March 2.

Also throwing off the mound in the 10-minute sessions were right-handers Joe Wieland, Ryan Cook, Mayckol Guaipe, Adrian Sampson and Jonathan Aro and lefties Danny Hultzen and David Rollins.

There will be one more round of bullpen sessions Thursday before pitchers begin throwing live batting practice to hitters on Friday.

• Wieland and Sampson are among the pitchers who will be stretched out as starters this spring and likely headed to Triple-A Tacoma. Servais said starting depth in the organization is critical, and others falling into that mode include Casey Coleman, Cody Martin, Donn Roach and lefty Brad Mills.

• Veteran reliever Joaquin Benoit took part in fielding drills Wednesday, but said he'll likely be held back from throwing off the mound for a few more days as he deals with some lower back stiffness. He and Felix Hernandez are the only pitchers yet to throw a bullpen session.

• Single-game tickets for the upcoming regular season will go on sale March 5 at 10 a.m. PT, but season ticket holders already have the opportunity to buy additional single-game tickets through this Friday. Additionally, registered users of Mariners Mail will have a presale from March 1-3 by signing up prior to a Feb. 27 deadline at

Greg Johns is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.