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March 5, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Game thread: Mariners vs. Angels, March 5

MARINER BATS ARE SILENT: We’re entering the bottom of the seventh, with the Angels holding a 4-1 lead, and the Mariners have just two hits.
OK, and this is honest to God truth, as I was typing the above sentence, Chris Shelton just homered to left. So it’s 4-2, and the Mariners have three hits. Wladimir Balentien and Matt Tuiasosopo have singles for the other hits.
I didn’t get to see Kelley pitch much after all, because I was interviewing Bedard during his inning. He gave up a two-out, two-run double to Jeff Mathis.
THE WISDOM OF BEDARD: Just got back from my inaugural Erik Bedard post-outing spring interview session, and compared to some from last year, it was quite pleasant. Here goes:
“It was all right. It’s spring training. I’m try to get my arm ready. As long as I throw strikes, it’s progress. All I’m trying to do is get in physical shape. I guess you could say it was a little better than last time.
On feeling good physically: “To come off surgery and feel this good, I’m lucky.”
And more: “I’m right where you’re supposed to be, I guess. I was just pretty much working on things, trying to get my changeup better and be more consistent with it.”
BEDARD OUT: Bedard reached his pitch count and was pulled out after getting two quick outs in the third, finishing with a strikeout of Chone Figgins. All in all, a good outing — 2 2/3 innings (47 pitches), one hit, one walk, and three strikeouts. Shawn Kelley is in now. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him, so I’m looking forward to seeing him work.
Erik Bedard, pitching on his 30th birthday, got into a little trouble in the first inning, giving up a one-out single to Erick Aybar and walking Juan Rivera. But third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo, continuing his strong spring, bailed out Bedard by making a diving stop of Kendry Morales’s smash to his left and getting the force at second. Bedard then struck out Mike Napoli.
Shortstop Reegie Corona — or Mr. Octobeer, as I like to call him — bailed out Bedard in the second inning with a diving catch of a Howie Kendrick liner. Bedard had a 1-2-3 inning, striking out Terry Evans
The Mariners got on the scoreboard with an unearned run in the bottom of the second when Wladimir Balentien singled, moved to third on an error, and scored when Tuiasosopo grounded into a double play. Jamie Burke hit a drive to the wall that was hauled in.
In WBC action yesterday, Japan opened the tournament at the Tokyo Dome with a 4-0 win over China, with Ichiro going 0-for-5 and Kenji Johjima 0-for-3 with a walk. In exhibition WBC action involving Mariners’ personnel, infielder Alex Liddi went 0-for-1 for Italy (vs. Florida), second baseman Jose Lopez was 1-for-4 with a two run double for Venezuela (vs. Houston), infielder Anthony Phillips was 1-for-4 with two runs scored for South Africa (vs. Angels) and outfielder Greg Halman was 0-for-4 for Netherlands (vs. the Reds).
By the way, with Alex Rodriguez apparently out of the WBC because of his hip injury, the Dominican Republic needs a third baseman. Hmmm. I can think of a Dominican third baseman who would fit the bill. I asked Adrian Beltre if A-Rod’s injury is making him re-think the WBC issue. “No,” he replied tersely. Of course, it’s still not Beltre’s call. He wanted to go all along. The Mariners said no, and the reasons for their refusal to let him play — monitoring his health status — haven’t changed.

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