Seattle evened its spring training record at 1-1 (yes, the Charity Game does count in the standings this year) by beating the San Diego Padres with six runs in the bottom of the eighth. The highlight of the inning was a no-doubt, grand slam over the fence in left center by Tommy Everidge, seen in the photo above after the game.
So, it’s a 9-3 final. The second run of the inning came after a single by Dustin Ackley and an ensuing single by Carlos Triunfel. Nice to see that out of those two guys. Even more impressive was how, on a flyout to medium center, a hustling Ackley took off for third and made it in safely. Triunfel alertly followed as well. That’s the type of stuff the team is looking for.
Some not-so-good news from the game: David Aardsma felt some tightness in his groin after delivering the final pitch of his outing. He walked a batter but was otherwise zeros in the third inning.
‘We don’t think it’s very serious,” Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. “He might miss one outing, hopefully. And that’s it.”
So, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow and whether the team can stop this in its tracks before it becomes something more serious.
Matt Tuiasosopo came up with a triple today, following up on his double of yesterday. He’s vying for a backup infielder’s job and played second today. He juggled that ball at second base on what could have been a double-play and had to settle for one out — something that later led to a run scored.
Wakamatsu was asked whether offense or defense would be a determining factor for him.
“The thing with a utility player is that he’s got to be able to play shortstop, or at least feel some comfort level,” Wakamatsu said. “Josh Wilson is there. We’ve got several guys who can do that. I think if there’s an equal playing field, then you’re looking at the bat a little bit more.
“We’re talking about (Jack) Hannahan maybe getting a little bit of outfield play, too, just to have that versatility.”
Tuiasosopo will get playing time at shortstop. He’ll have to show something with the glove for all of these extra-base hits to matter.
For those who are worried about Franklin Gutierrez, you can stop.
Gutierrez apparently feels much better and is going to get in a game as early as Sunday, or possibly Monday. See our video from this morning of Gutierrez taking batting practice. The team had looked to do the same with Rob Johnson, but he was limping a bit today and told the team his hip feels a bit stiff.
Johnson did some running drills for the first time yesterday and that may have caused the stiffness. It’s a minor setback for now, but the team is going to ease him back in a little slower.
I spoke to Johnson earlier today and he told me he’s felt pretty good all week and that the team just wants him to be careful. He said he’s still nowhere close to the kind of physical exertion he usually puts on himself this time of year but is pretty confident he can get in a game towards the end of next week.
Head trainer Rick Griffin might have Alex Rodriguez phone Johnson to talk to him about coming back from that type of hip surgery, which A-Rod had last year.
“He’s a young kid, knows what the situation is here,” Wakamatsu said. “It’s wide open and he’s going to want to push it a little bit and we will need to hold him back.”
By the way, Josh Bard, who stands to make the team if Johnson isn’t ready for Opening Day, went 0-for-2 today. He struck out with the bases loaded to end the first inning against former teammate Chris Young.