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March 4, 2009 at 5:34 PM

Game thread — March 4 vs. Australia

POST-GAME — Well, not that any of this in the spring matters. But if you are paying attention, the Mariners picked the right game to lose as this one won’t count in their standings.
So despite an 11-9 loss to the Australian entry in the World Baseball Classic here tonight, Seattle remains undefeated in spring training play.
Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu was more concerned with his team’s pitching as Seattle gave up the aforementioned 11 runs on 16 hits.
Wakamatsu said he thought starter Garrett Olson was better than the last time, and that David Aardsma, Eric Hull and Jason Vargas were decent enough. But everybody else, he thought, “was pretty flat.”
“We gave up six two-strike hits,” he lamented.
As for the big names, he said Ken Griffey Jr., Adrian Beltre, Wladimir Balentien and Yuniesky Betancourt all came out of the game just fine health-wise.
He said it’s uncertain when Griffey will play again.
He will definitely take tomorrow off. He then will have another simulated game on Friday as he did on Monday. Then it will be whether he decides he wants to do that as well as play in the actual game (I wouldn’t bet on it with that being a road game at Oakland’s field in Phoenix). Seattle plays the Dodgers Wednesday in Glendale, which is closer, and then is home on Sunday against Arizona.
Asked about Griffey’s knee he said “we’ll just take it day-by-day. He had some swelling earlier, but that seems to be gone now. It’s just checking with him after the game, the next day see how it feels. We’ll take it pretty slow with him the next week-and-a-half or so.”
The Mariners will play tomorrow against the Angels here in Peoria with Erik Bedard slated to get his second start of the spring.
IT’S A FINAL — Aussies win 11-9. More in a few minutes.
HEADED TO BOTTOM OF NINTH — Aussies still lead 11-9. I’ll be back with more after the game.
TOUGH NIGHT FOR TUI — Matt Tuiasosopo has been one of the hotter players of the spring but he’s had a tough go tonight. He was picked off second as a pinch-runner and is 0-2 at the plate, striking out on four pitches in the eighth, which has ended with the Aussies up 11-9.
AUSSIES LEAD 11-9 — Heading into the bottom of the eight. LHP Jason Vargas, part of the J.J. Putz trade, gave up a run and two hits in two innings. He had a pretty dominating seventh but gave up the run and the hits in the eighth.
ATTENDANCE — Tonight it was 3,760. Not sure what they normally get here for March 4th but it’s a pretty empty house considering everything.
AUSSIES LEAD 10-9 HEADING INTO THE BOTTOM OF THE SIXTH — Australia scored two runs off Mark Lowe in the top of the sixth, another contender for the closer’s job struggling tonight. And that means a lot to at least one fan here who keeps yelling “USA, USA” like Australia is some big rivals of ours or something. Anyway, it’s a very entertaining game if you like offense as the Aussies have 10 runs on 13 hits, Seattle nine on 13.
GRIFFEY COMMENTS — Griffey wasn’t too excited to talk to the media today so he didn’t have much to say about his two at-bats.
“I’m just trying to take as many pitches, see the pitches get guys over, do the little things,” he said. “It’s spring training. I’m just doing what I’m supposed to.”
Commenting on the attention his at-bats received — there was a constant chorus of flashbulbs — he said “I understand a little bit, but for the most part, after last year we have to turn this thing around and that’s 25 guys and that’s me doing the little things and the big things will happen.”
He also said his knee is fine.
“I just take it one day at a time and try to build strength in it,” he said. “That’s it.”
ROUGH OUTING FOR CORCORAN — Roy Corcoran, in the battle to be the team’s closer, gave up four hits and four earned runs in one inning here as Australia has tied the game at 4-4 heading into the top of the fifth.
MORE ON GUZMAN AND FEIERABEND — Here’s the official release on the surgeries today for Ryan Reierabend and Freddy Guzman.

Left-handed pitcher Ryan Feierabend underwent surgery today in Los Angeles to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow. Dr. Lewis Yocum performed the “Tommy John” surgery. Feierabend will begin a rehabilitation program immediately.
An average recovery time from “Tommy John” surgery is 10 to 12 months.
Outfielder Freddy Guzman had surgery to remove a fractured hamate bone in his right hand today. Dr. Don Sheridan performed the surgery in Arizona. Guzman will be in a soft cast for 10 days, then begin a rehabilitation program.
An average recovery time from a surgery of this type is four to six weeks.

THOSE SLUGGING M’S — Franklin Gutierrez and Ronny Cedeno followed Beltre’s homer with shots of their own — a three-run blow and a solo job — to put the Mariners back in front 8-4 at the end of the three.
BELTRE HOMERS — His HR makes it 4-4 after Australia took a 4-3 lead in the top of the third. Beltre is 2-2 with a single and a HR.
BATISTA GIVES UP TWO RUNS, LEAVES — Miguel Batista’s stint didn’t last long as he has given up three hits and at least two runs before leaving with Seattle ahead 3-2 in the top of the third.
Griffey is done for the night having taken off for the clubhouse. He didn’t really want to speak to the media but did so grudgingly and I’ll have a few of those comments in a little while.
GRIFFEY FLIES OUT — Griffey hit the first pitch to center field — shading just a bit to let — where it was caught maybe 20 feet in front of the 410 foot sign. That ended the second inning with Seattle up 3-0.
He was expected to have at least two at-bats and maybe.
GRIFFEY UP AGAIN — With Seattle up 3-0 and one on and two out, he’s up again in the bottom of the second.
MORSE CODES ONE TO CENTER — Mike Morse’s double drove in Jeff Clement and has given Seattle a 2-0 lead here in the bottom of the second.
OLSON RALLIES — After a double and a single put runners on first and third with one out, Olson got out of it with a pop up and a strike out on three pitches to leave the score at 1-0 Seattle heading into the bottom of the second. That figures to be it for Olson with Miguel Batista scheduled in next.
FIRST INNING ENDS 1-0 — Blackley retired Branyan and Balentien to end the threat, and leave Griffey standing at third, so the first inning ends with the Mariners ahead 1-0.
BELTRE SINGLES IN A RUN — Beltre has singled in Betancourt to make it 1-0, with Griffey advancing to third.
GRIFFEY WALKS — His first at-bat is a walk on a three-two pitch that looked like a fastball inside.
He took a strike on the first pitch, then three straight balls, then fouled one back to the press box were it was fumbled and then, after a few anxious moments, finally controlled by a Mariner PR person (hey, it’s spring training for everyone).
Griffey then walked on a pitch that looked low, or away, or both.
There were lots of flash bulbs throughout.
Seattle has two on and one out with Beltre up.
GRIFFEY’S UP — After a Betancourt single, Griffey is batting.
THREE UP, THREE DOWN — The first three Australian batters struck out, including Snelling, who did so looking. Olson threw 17 pitches. Griffey is due up third in the bottom of the first.
FIRST PITCH — The game is underway, with first pitch at 7:06 local time and temperature at 76 degrees. Olson has struck out the first two Australian batters.
FEIERABEND UPDATE — A Mariners spokesman just told us that Ryan Feierabend did indeed have Tommy John surgery. The surgeon said that “everything went we” and Feierabend will now begin the rehab process. But he will be sidelined for the season.
GAME TONIGHT DOESN’T COUNT MUCH — Not that any spring training game does. But tonight’s game is even more unofficial as it won’t count toward Seattle’s spring record nor will the stats count for individual totals.
WBC RESULTS — Here are some early results from Mariners in WBC games today:
Alex Liddi (Italy vs. Florida Marlins) – 0-for-1 as PR/DH
Jose Lopez (Venezuela vs. Houston Astros) – 1-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
Anthony Phillips (South Africa vs. LA Angels) – 1-for-4, 2R
ODDLY PICTURESQUE SETTING AWAITS FIRST PITCH — About a half-hour to first pitch and it’s not your normal fun-in-the-sun atmosphere.
Instead, there are scattered clouds overhead and a reddish sunsetand a little wind blowing out to center field.
And though this is the re-debut of Ken Griffey Jr., as a Mariner, not a huge buzz in the air. I overhead one regular asking an usher if a big crowd was expected tonight and the answer was “no, not really.” Despite Griffey, it’s still a Wednesday night early in spring training in a down economy.
One person who is here, however, is former Seahawk Manu Tuiasosopo, here to see his son, Matt, an aspiring third baseman for the Mariners, though not in the starting lineup tonight.
Here’s the starting lineup for Australia.
Trent Oeltjen, CF
Luke Hughes, 3B
Chris Snelling, RF
Justin Huber, LF
Benjamin Risinger, DH
Brett Roneberg, 1B
Bradley Harman, SS
Andrew Graham, C
James Beresford, 2B
Travis Blackley, P
As mentioned earlier, Blackley and Snelling are ex-Mariners.



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