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March 14, 2009 at 11:33 AM

Bedard, Morrow throw

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A look at the Mariners this morning in Tucson, Ariz., going through a drill that involves making outfield relays to home plate. The Mariners will take on the Colorado Rockies in about 90 minutes and are hoping for a better mound display than they put on yesterday in losing to Arizona. Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu is a bit concerned with all the walks he’s seen from pitchers this spring. Even though yesterday’s crew — which issued 10 walks to the D-Backs — was made up entirely of minor leaguers, the organization as a whole wants to see better efforts.
The Mariners have issued 70 walks in 16 games, counting the Charity Game and the exhibition against Austrailia. That’s nearly five walks per contest. They’ve struck out only 68 opposing hitters — not quite the ratio you want. By the way, M’s hitters have whiffed 114 times so far. This team has some work to do.
“We can talk about the position players and having rookie players out there, but we’ve walked way too many guys,” he said. “We talk about certain organizations and respecting the game and you look atop the leaderboard with this amount of walks and we’re there. Reagrdless of who we’re throwing out there, those are our expectations and they should be met. If we’re getting hit around and hit around and we’re not walking anybody, then at least we’re accomplishing one side of it.”
Wakamatsu feels that some of the pitching woes are due to the pressure of competition and some of the younger arms trying too hard to make an impression.
Speaking of arms, Erik Bedard threw a 30-pitch bullpen session this morning in Peoria, Ariz., using all of his pitches, and felt good afterwards. Brandon Morrow threw about 20 pitches from a shorter distance standing in front of the rubber as he tries to come back from that right forearm strain that’s sidelined him more than a week.
Morrow had a smile on his face afterwards, according to Times colleague Larry Stone, who was there to witness the session.
Wakamatsu welcomed the news, but still seemed doubtful about Morrow being ready to begin the year in the starting rotation.
“I think it’s still going to be iffy,” he said.
That leaves plenty of room for Ryan Rowland-Smith, today’s starter against Colorado, to step in and secure a job. Rowland-Smith made quite an impression in a different arena the other day, co-hosting the nightly Cactus League Report on KIRO. The first person he had to interview was bullpen coach John Wetteland.
“It was a bit strange having to interview your coach,” Rowland-Smith said. “But afterwards, we had guys on like Mark Lowe and they’re my buddies so I was trying not to laugh the whole time. But it went well.”
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A look at Wakamatsu, above, as he stretches in preparation for some throwing afterwards.
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Today’s lineups:
Franklin Gutierrez CF
Ronny cedeno SS
Jeff Clement C
Wladimir Balentien LF
Chris Shelton 1B
Matt Tuiasosopo 3B
Prentice Redman RF
Chris Woodward 2B
Ryan Rowland-Smith LHP
Dexter Fowler CF
Clint Barnes SS
Todd Helton 1B
Matt Murton LF
Brad Hawpe RF
Christian Colonel 3B
Sal Fasano C
Jonathan Herrera 2B
Jason Marquis LHP

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