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Hot Stone League

Larry Stone gives his take on a wide array of baseball issues and weighs in about the Mariners, too.

April 10, 2012 at 11:30 AM

A three-pack of Mariners’ minor-league reports

Here is today’s Mariners’ minor-league report. And because I’m that kind of guy, here’s yesterday’s and Sunday’s. I was off those days, but I know there’s a lot of interest in the Mariners’ farm right now, so I’ll try to post them all, eventually.

Tough news for Carlos Peguero, who had a good spring and was the final cut after the team returned from Japan, with Alex Liddi making the team ahead of him. Peguero got off to a torrid start with Tacoma (7-for-10, two homers), but he’s been placed on the disabled list with a knee injury. Mike Wilson (strained groin) and Darren Ford (broken finger) are already on the DL, so manager Daren Brown already has an outfield shortage, five games into the season. The Mariners have brought up Chih-Hsien Chiang (acquired from Boston in the Erik Bedard trade), Mario Yepez and Leury Bonilla from Double-A Jackson.

Anthony Vasquez took his share of ridicule for his struggles last year with the Mariners (in seven starts, he gave up as many homers as he had strikeouts — 13 for both), so it’s only fair to point out that he pitched very well in the Rainiers’ 4-2 win yesterday. Vasquez allowed just one hit in seven innings (a homer to former top prospect Brandon Wood) against Colorado Springs, striking out five and walking one. And Vinnie Catricala, who had been off to a 2-for-15 start in Triple-A, went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.

You can debate forever the importance of winning in the minors, but three of the four Mariner farms teams are off to good starts — 3-2 for the Rainiers, 4-1 for Double-A Jackson, and 5-0 for Single-A High Desert. The only struggling team is their other Class A affiliate, Clinton, which is 1-3.

Speaking of Jackson, Taijuan Walker became the latest of the “Big Three” to make his 2012 debut, and it was a good one. In five innings, Walker struck out eight (not five, as I originally wrote) in a winning effort. He gave up four hits and two runs while walking just one. In their first starts combined, Walker, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen went 2-1, with 10 hits allowed in 14 2/3 innings, seven earned runs (4.29 ERA), four walks and 25 strikeouts. Hultzen struggled the most, giving up five runs in four innings in his minor-league debut. But he did strike out seven.

Brad Miller, who was the Mariners’ second pick in last year’s draft, behind Hultzen, deserves some mention. Playing for High Desert, in a notorious hitter-friendly league, he is hitting .478 (11-for-23) with four homers and 11 RBIs. After signing last year, Miller played 14 games for Clinton and hit .415 (22-for-53). Miller is a shortstop. It’s going to be interesting watching him and Nick Franklin (off to a .444 start for Jackson) vie for the title of Mariners’ shortstop of the future.

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