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March 4, 2008 at 3:12 PM

Under the rocks in East Phoenix

End game: Oakland 9, Seattle 6
Mariners are 2-3 in Cactus League, have lost second in a row.
Sorry for not posting for a while, I was working on some breaking news (unrelated to the M’s).
-Mike Morse played the whole game and was 2-for-4. He hit a home run in the top of the ninth and is now batting .636 in spring training (7-for-11). Talk about making a case to win a roster spot, but it’s still early.
-The reason why Balentien and Ibanez were on the ground in the fifth inning in the outfield was indeed a swarm of bees buzzing around them.
-Erik Bedard will start for Seattle tomorrow vs. the Angels.
Batista pitched hurt
Batista admitted that he hurt his back on the lower left side above the hip, and it affected his performance in the second inning. The back tightened up after the first inning and he couldn’t finish his pitches. Batista gave up two runs on two hits, walked one and struck out two. The reason he stayed in for the third inning is because, as he said, he wanted to prove something to himself and he feels like he’s in the best shape of his career, that he can pitch when hurt.
Batista said that as he hit the ground and shifted his weight, he felt a sharp pain. He said it’s probably a muscle strain. Not sure yet if it will affect when he pitches again.
In the second inning when he gave up his hits, runs and walks, his location was off. He said the back had been tightening up for the past week or so.
Top 7
Just got upstairs after listening to Batista and Dickey. Looks like I missed some action.
Bottom 5
OK, that was super strange. Ibanez and Balentien were lying on the grass in the outfield and it delayed the start of the inning. I guess there were bees out there. They were down for a minute or so and then got up, and play resumed. I’ll have to check that one out.
Bottom 4
3-2 A’s on sac fly. Then 2B Chen bails out Dickey by snagging a hard line drive up the middle on the fly. Inning over.
Update: Dickey is struggling with his control though Johjima is handling the knuckler well. Three walks in the inning and two on five pitches EACH. Bases loaded, one out.
Now pitching…R.A. Dickey for the Mariners. Johjima is catching him.
End 3rd
Batista sets them down in order. 10 total pitches. 41 for the game, 27 for strikes. Hard to tell what he’s working on. But his day should be over now. He worked fast, that’s for sure. I would say that regardless of what any other starter is working on (Washburn talked about adjusting his changeup grip yesterday), whatever Bedard does is bigger news right now and worthy of more scrutiny since he was such a huge addition. He’s also the Opening Day starter. So he can’t be so easily dismissed.
Top 3
Yung Chi Chen just went yard to left field. M’s third HR of the spring. 2-2.
End 2nd
Batista got raked with two out in the bottom of the second. Two hard-hit doubles after walk brings in two runs, 2-1 Oakland. Batista has thrown 31 total pitches, 20 for strikes. He gave up two earned runs in his last outing last week, though that didn’t count in spring training stats.
Top 2
With two outs, Balentien rips it some 405 feet to almost dead center, off the wall for a double. Johjima was dead at the plate had not the second baseman cut off the relay throw from CF. But he threw to third and they got Balentien in a run down. Johjima was barely rounding third when the CF was up with the ball. Run scores, 1-0 M’s.
Bottom 1
Update: 3 up, 3 down for Batista — 13 total pitches, 8 for strikes.
After two deep fly outs by Betancourt and Ibanez in the top of the first, Miguel Batista is on the hill. Raul gave it a ride to the wall. Batista is working pretty fast, strikes out leadoff man on a foul tip.
That’s the setting here at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, where the A’s and Mariners are under way at 1:04. It’s 71 degrees and sunny.

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