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Daily coverage of the Mariners during the season and all year long.

March 1, 2007 at 4:39 PM

Mariners getting some rust out

Pretty tough to judge a team based on one exhibition game that doesn’t even count towards the Cactus League standings. So, I wouldn’t go making any long term predicitons based on what was seen here today in Seattle’s 4-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.
We saw some pretty good pitching from Horacio Ramirez, some lousy results for reliever Chris Reitsma in allowing all four runs the Padres scored on the day and some decent efforts from players who won’t be around the squad come April. The Mariners were pleased with a couple of situational hitting efforts that went right but didn’t have much to say about the ones that went wrong.
The baserunning was fine in spots, with runners going from first to third on balls hit to right field. Not so great when baserunning decisions twice ended innings. There was Willie Bloomquist getting caught stealing at second to end the fourth. Not a terrible thing, since there were two out and he was trying to get into scoring position. The hitter was Raul Ibanez, who wound up with singles in his two at-bats, but you have to try to move up a base so he can drive you in.
I wasn’t so thrilled at the play that saw Mike Morse nabbed rather easily at the plate when he tried to catch the Padres by surprise after shortstop Manny Alexander bobbled an infield single. Morse had already moved from second to third on the slow hopper, then broke for home when the ball bounced from Alexander’s glove. But the veteran infielder quickly recovered and Morse was a dead duck. Those are the kinds of decisions I think Hargrove was talking about when he spoke of the need to eliminate unnecessary risks from the running game. Sure, there was a chance Morse could have made it home. But it wasn’t a great one.
Morse did come through with two hits on the day, driving in a run with a fourth-inning single and getting doubled home by Mike Wilson in the seventh to get his team back within one. This will be a big spring for Morse, trying to stick with the team as a bench player. He’ll be played at multiple positions down here and got the start at third base today.
Chatted with Jose Guillen about his 0-for-4 performance as a DH, which included a couple of balls smoked the opposite way to right in his final two at-bats. Guillen says that as long as he can hit the ball the other way — something his ailing elbow left him unable to do last season — then he knows he’ll be fine in 2007. The team figures Guillen could be ready to play right field by next week, but he told me he’s targetting the final two weeks of Cactus League play. He wants to get his arm back in top shape and not risk blowing it out early in the regular season by putting too much stress on it too early. He plans to do some more throwing drills during infield practice today, making throws of about 150 feet.

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