02/16/08 7:20 PM ET
Notes: Elia goes back in time
Mariners coach remembers his first Spring Training camp
By Jim Street / MLB.com
"It was grueling and we went home tired, but we were all trying to make a living," he said.The players these days still run and throw every day in camp. And practice the fundamentals. The biggest difference, Elia said, is the current-day players report to camp in tip-top shape. "Back then, we used Spring Training to get into shape," he said. "Guys would have to work regular jobs during the offseason and some would come to camp pretty heavy. The Phillies had this one running drill when you would run around the outfield for about half-an-hour, hugging the fence all the way. "A coach would hit each one of us a ball and if we missed it, you'd just let it lie there until someone picked it up. You kept running. If you got sick, you would pull off to the side, throw up, and continue to run.
"That was not a real sophisticated drill."But more times than not, the players who made it through the entire camp were in good shape when the regular season started. "You know," Elia said. "I really don't miss those days." He laughed, grabbed a fungo and sauntered onto one of the well-manicured fields. Hurler claimed: The Mariners claimed right-hander Anderson Garcia from the Phillies on Saturday and added him to the 40-man roster. Garcia was scheduled to arrive in Arizona on Saturday night and will begin workouts Sunday or Monday. "I don't know that much about him, but I do know [pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre] saw him briefly when both were with the Yankees [in 2001]," McLaren said. "He's supposed to have a good arm and is someone we want to take a look at and see if we can develop him." Garcia, 26, was originally signed by the Yankees and made his Major League debut last season with the Phillies, appearing in one game. He has spent parts of seven seasons in the Minors with the Yankees, Mets, Phillies and Orioles. Impressed: McLaren spent most of Saturday morning in the covered bullpen area watching the pitchers go through their workout. "All of these guys look like Cy Young winners right now. I mean that in a positive way, that they all look real good," McLaren said. "We're excited by what we have and what we have coming up, as well." Phillippe Aumont, the Mariners' first-round Draft choice last June, already has opened some eyes. "I'd never seen him throw, but when I saw him the other day, I was excited," McLaren said. "After we drafted him, I had a friend who had scouted him call me. He told me that out of the whole Draft, this kid had a higher ceiling than anybody. He wasn't as polished as the kid from Vanderbilt, but as far as upside, this kid hadn't thrown a lot, he's a big strong kid, he's athletic and he loved him." And what was so impressive? "He threw about seven pitches down around the ankle area with movement," McLaren said. "Everything moved. He's got that natural movement and you can't teach that. His ball was nose-diving in the strike zone, and hitters don't like that. He's got that intimidating figure out on the mound. He's huge. His legs are like a speed skater's."