The Mariners really didn’t do much offensively until the final two innings, managing just one hit to that point. But Matt Tuiasosopo drove home a pair in the eighth and Dustin Ackley can be seen in the photo above lining an RBI single in the ninth to at least make the final score somewhat respectable.
Adam Moore got the ninth inning rally going with two out when he tripled to the gap in right center (photo below). Ackley came up next, was patient, worked things to a hitter’s count, then took advantage of the fastball sent his way.
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said Ackley looked “very comfortable” up there.
So, that’s something for the M’s, who also got two solid innings out of starter Michael Pineda, who retired all six hitters he faced. Let the debate about service time begin. I asked former GM John Hart, now with MLB Network, about that issue earlier today and you’ll hear his answer on Geoff Baker Live! at 6:30 p.m. PT.
As I mentioned early, the most impressive showing by Pineda today was his battle with Xavier Nady, where he didn’t give in and eventually busted a called third strike on the inside corner. I asked Wedge about that.
“I think that’s where the composure comes in,” Wedge said. “When you see young kids out here, whether it be on the mound or in the box, or in the field, certain situations that we’ll go through here this spring — you’ve already seen quite a bit of it — where you find out about guys. Just because it may or may not work out early on, it’s still good experience for them so when they go through it the next time, it’s not the first time they’ve gone through it. Obviously, him being out there the first time, it’s all the more impressive.”
Pineda needed only 22 pitches in his two innings. He threw 14 for strikes.
After the game, Mariners head trainer Rick Griffin gave us an update on the Franklin Gutierrez situation. Test results are still rolling in and the team expects to have them all by the weekend.
The team’s medical staff is flying down this weekend for minor league player physicals, so at that point, they’ll sit down with Gutierrez and go over the results with him in-detail.
“There were a lot of tests done,” Griffin said. “And we just haven’t got the results back yet. So, once we get it back, we’ll get the results to you (media) guys. What we can.”
The testing was primarily to “rule out things” and “be proactive” in reassuring Gutierrez that he’s not going to go through what he did last year again. Griffin said that because Gutierrez lives in Florida and spends much of the off-season in Venezuela, it was tough to get him to come up to Seattle to do the tests over the winter.
Now, they’ve been done.
“He’s feeling much better,” Griffin said. “He’s started to do some different things. He’s had three or four really good days in a row so we feel like we’re starting to make progress and get back on track.”
Expect some type of announcement by the team about the test results early next week.