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March 11, 2011 at 4:47 PM

Wrapping up the day

Well, if you look real hard, you can see that the scoreboard up there shows a “5” for each team as the players and coaches left the field.
Seattle led all the way until the eighth, when a Mike Carp error at first base helped lead to a run that tied the game. As is the custom in spring games, the two sides played a 10th inning, then called it quits, neither having any pitching left.
So the Mariners’ four-game winning streak technically comes to an end and it’s now a five-game non-losing streak as Seattle “improves” to 7-4-2.
The bigger stories are obviously what individual players do, and for the Mariners, that largely meant starter Michael Pineda, who gave up his first two runs of the spring on four hits in three innings, along with three strikeouts and a walk. He threw 49 pitches, 27 for strikes.
As I wrote in my game story, while the runs allowed might make one think this was a step back, manager Eric Wedge said he liked the way Pineda rebounded from the adversity, getting the last three outs of the third (including strikeouts of Shin-Soo Choo and Travis Hafner) after allowing a solo homer to Asdrubal Cabrera to lead off the inning.
“Those are indicators,” said Wedge. “You’re always looking to see how young players react to different outcomes, and I think he has done a heck of a job so far.”
Wedge felt the difference was a simple mechanical adjustment, which he felt also spoke well of Pineda.
“He was rushing through a few of his pitches and the ball elevated on him a little bit,” Wedge said. “But he worked through it and finished strong there at the end. … you just
feel and work through different situations, whether it be different lineups, different in regard to what kind of stuff he has that day and what kind of adjustments he needs to make, and then just seeing how he reacts to it, whether it be from the mechanical, emotional or even the mental side of it. And I think that everything we have seen thus far is to the positive side of things.”
As for what Pineda thought, well, that’s still a little tricky. The 22-year-old native of the Domican Republic is earnestly attempting to learn English and attempting to do all interviews in English. But he good-naturedly admitted later that learning English right now is harder than pitching, and at the moment, quotes from him are going to be a little limited.
But he agreed with Wedge that his main problem was rushing his pitches and that overall “I think I had good control. My slider and changeup was pretty good today.”
Pineda should add at least an inning to his workload next time, and if he continues to pass each of these little tests, the prospect of him being in the Opening Day rotation will grow that much greater.

Nate Robertson was scheduled for three innings following Pineda, but managed just two after throwing roughly 44 pitches allowing four hits and two runs. He also got hit on the ankle by a batted ball though he recovered well enough to stay in the game.
Dustin Ackley had a nice day playing all 10 innings at second base. He was 1-3 at the plate but also walked twice and scored twice, had a stolen base and drove in a run. He also handled four chances without an error, including beginning a nice double play in the eighth. Said Wedge: “We’ve got to give him reps at second and on the base paths and innings and playing baseball. We know the young man is a pretty good hitter and going to get better as a hitter, and the focus for him right now is to continue to get acclimated at second base. It’s no different than Michael. You go out and play and different things happen in each game. You can’t replicate a lot of things that happen out there. He has to just go out there and play. I think that it’s going to take some time for him to be comfortable, but you have to be very excited about how far he has come in such a short time at second base.”
Mike Wilson was caught stealing among what Wedge felt were a couple base-running errors on Friday. But he said overall that “we’re doing a pretty good job (running the bases). We didn’t do a very good job on the bases today, but the aggressiveness was still there. …. Taking the extra base, beging aggressive, doing a lot of things been pretty pleased with. By no means happy with it. It’s like pushing that rock — the toughest thing is to get that thing started and that’s what we are trying to do.”
Johermyn Chavez was hit by pitch three times. But Wedge said it was “just one of those fluke days” and that the last one was a breaking ball that just came in a little too much. “That’s one of the reasons you love the game — you just never know what the hell is going to happen out there,” Wedge said.
— Seattle has yet to make cuts off its 64-man Major League roster, but some could come as early as tomorrow. “It will be sooner than later,” Wedge said.
Felix Hernandez will not pitch against the A’s on Saturday — his regular day to throw — but will instead pitch an intersquad game against Mariner minor leaguers in the morning. The Mariners will face Oakland and the team doesn’t want to expose Hernandez again to the A’s, a team Seattle will face often this season, including in the season opener April 1, a game Hernandez is expected to pitch. Blake Beavan will start in the regular game Saturday.
All for now.



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