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Mariners unveil charming new television commercials

By Bob Dutton Tacoma News Tribune

PEORIA, Ariz. – And now for a commercial announcement.

It’s always a spring highlight when the Mariners unveil their new television commercials. That happened Wednesday, and the result was predictably charming.

There are four spots:

*K-Swag: Third baseman Kyle Seager isn’t sure about a new marketing program, but teammates Charlie Furbush and Hisashi Iwakuma love the makeover. But Taijuan Walker prefers the “old school” Seager.

*Mirror Images: Remember the classic Marx Brothers sketch where Groucho and Harpo mimic one another in Duck Soup? (Lucille Ball reprised it years later with Harpo Marx.) Here we see Robinson Cano’s movements replicated by hitting coach Edgar Martinez.

*Clubhouse questions: New teammates Nori Aoki, Wade Miley and Steve Cishek ask Felix Hernandez about what it’s like to be the King. Hernandez insists he’s a regular guy.

*Nellie’s Auto Glass: This is a commercial within a commercial. Nelson Cruz operates an auto-glass repair service for cars damaged by his towering home runs.

All four commercials were shot on location last month on the Mariners’ side of the Peoria Sports Complex and began airing Wednesday during Root Sports’ telecast of the game against San Francisco at Peoria Stadium.

The advertising campaign was created by Seattle-base Copacino and Fujikado, the Mariners’ long-time advertising agency.

M’s cut De Fratus

Even in a bullpen thinned by injuries, the Mariners decided Wednesday they didn’t need right-handed reliever Justin De Fratus. He was released prior to Wednesday’s game against San Francisco.

“The stuff wasn’t quite what it had been,” manager Scott Servais said. “The sharpness, crispness to it. I do think there is a chance that we could re-sign Justin and bring him back into the organization.

“I know he’s going to look at his options and if he does get claimed. But we certainly would like to have him back.”

By releasing De Fratus on Wednesday, the Mariners limited their financial obligation to roughly one-sixth of his $750,000 salary – about $123,000.

Players on non-guaranteed contracts get 30 days of their salary as termination pay if released more than 15 days before the start of the season. They get 45 days — roughly one-fourth — if released 15 or fewer days before the season starts.

For De Fratus, the difference amounted to about $64,000. All contracts become fully guaranteed once the season starts.

The Mariners opted to release De Fratus, 28, even though their bullpen is already short-handed from injuries to right-handers Evan Scribner and Ryan Cook. Both are battling strained latissimus dorsi muscles in their back.

Scribner is expected to open the season on the disabled list, and Cook won’t return for at least two months after being placed on the 60-day disabled list.

Released De Fratus appears to further solidify the chance for Joel Peralta and Tony Zych to make the club. It also boosts the chances for pitchers such as Blake Parker, Cody Martin, Mayckol Guaipe and Casey Coleman.

De Fratus gave up three runs and six hits in six innings over four spring appearances. He signed with the Mariners as a free agent on Dec. 2 in a bid to rebound from a disappointing season in Philadelphia.

Notes

Lefty reliever Charlie Furbush stretched out to play long toss during the morning workout after testing his shoulder Tuesday by playing catch. He was shut down last weekend because of lingering shoulder tightness in his recovery from biceps tendinitis and a small tear in his rotator cuff. … Outfielder Seth Smith remains day-to-day after experience some tightness in his left groin during Monday’s split-squad game against Arizona in Scottsdale.

M’s club Giants

That extra work the Mariners are putting into small-ball aspects, such as better secondary leads, might pay off big, but a little muscle is still a good thing.

Leonys Martin and Luis Sardinas hit homers in six-run third inning Wednesday that erased a five-run deficit and carried the Mariners to a 9-6 victory over the San Francisco Giants at Peoria Stadium in Peoria, Arizona.

Shawn O’Malley added a homer in the fourth inning.

“We got power from our speed guys today,” manager Scott Servais said. “Those guys hit the ball well. Obviously, the ball was carrying very well today.

“We jumped right back after we got behind early, which was nice to see.”

The Giants (6-10) jumped to a 5-0 lead against Hisashi Iwakuma, who lasted just 2 2/3 innings. Trouble started when Sardinas, playing third base, made a two-out throwing error in the second inning that led to two runs.

Iwakuma gave up three more runs in the third – there was nothing tainted about them – and didn’t survive the inning. He exited after a leadoff single and one-out doubles by Brandon Crawford and Angel Pagan.

It was 4-0 with a runner on first when Vidal Nuno replaced Iwakuma with two outs. A walk and an RBI single pushed the margin to 5-0.

Giants starter Jeff Samardzija gave it all back before retiring a batter in the bottom of the third. Efren Navarro walked. O’Malley bunted for a single. Martin homered. Nori Aoki singled. Sardinas homered.

The Mariners weren’t done. Robinson Cano tripled and scored on a two-out single by Chris Iannetta. When O’Malley led off the fourth with a homer, the Mariners led 7-5.

Samardzija gave up seven runs and eight hits in four innings.

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