Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu congratulates his players on the field after earning his first Cactus League win as a manager, an 18-2 rout of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hard to believe this M’s team isn’t supposed to score runs. But it is spring training, let’s not forget. Still, a whole lot of power on display today. Three homers, a triple and seven doubles by the Mariners off Dodgers pitching — if you can call it that.
Mike Carp (shaking Wakamatsu’s hand in the photo atop the blog post) went deep for a three-run homer in the eighth, putting Seattle ahead 18-0. That Carp kid looks good. He had a homer, a double and five RBI with a run scored and is now hitting .500 for the spring. Someone asked me if he’ll make the club out of spring training. I don’t think that’s the plan. He’s yet to play in Class AAA and with young guys, sometimes they have to struggle a bit and taste failure before they get up to the majors. We saw how poorly Wladimir Balentien and Jeff Clement did when faced with some real major-league slumps last season after they’d mastered the minors. I think the organization would prefer not to rush Carp up here for April. There’s no real need to at the moment. Russell Branyan is here for a year, bats left-handed as Carp does, and will get the bulk of ABs at first base. Ken Griffey Jr. will get the bulk of lefty DH ABs. But I would not be surprised to see Carp up at some point this summer. The guy can flat-out hit. And with Branyan and Griffey possibly not coming back here in 2010, a spot would open up for a lefty 1B/DH who can rake.
Chris Shelton, a guy I wrote about for this morning’s newspaper, had a double and two walks and is also batting .500 this spring. The team will likely get Shelton up before Carp, all things being equal. Shelton is a non-roster guy and a right-handed bat, and they have to make a quicker decision on him. As one of you mentioned, it will likely be him or Mike Sweeney as the RH portion of a first-base platoon with Branyan, who had a two-run triple today and finished 2 for 3.
Wakamatsu had some good things to say about Adrian Beltre, who went 2 for 3 with a two-run double and three RBI. Also about Erik Bedard, who used a pair of double-play grounders to get out of the first and second innings on just 14 combined pitches.
Listen to Wakamatsu’s post game audio by clicking here.
“Watching him in BP, he looks great,” Wakamatsu said of Beltre. “There’s nothing in there that’s hindering him.”
Don’t miss Beltre’s appearance on Geoff Baker Live! from earlier today, in the 20th minute, when he drops in for a chat with me and some fans. Look at a video, below, of Beltre’s two-run double in his second AB.
On Bedard, Wakamatsu says: “The big thing for me is the pitching, with Bedard starting out and the two double-plays. Just setting the tone with the defense. It was a good day.”
See a video below of Bedard’s four-pitch first inning.
A crowd of 4,849 here today. Better than yesterday, but still not great given the attraction of the Dodgers. Maybe the L.A. fans knew what was coming?