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March 18, 2012 at 5:10 PM

Rain, rain go away

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Well, today wasn’t what you expect when you think of spring training and lazy days watching baseball in the sun.
What we got was more of a storm that began to come in last night, bringing heavy winds, cooler temperatures and rain and hail.
The Mainers and Rockies tried to get their game, attempting to restart it after an initial 30-minute delay (that’s the tarp guys in action in the AP photo above). But eventually they made the seeming inevitable decision to call it off after four innings,
Mariner manager Eric Wedge said he’d “never seen anything” like the weather here today, calling it “odd.”
Here’s an AP recap with some details.
The game does not count in the standings, nor do the statistics count.
That’s too bad for the likes of Kyle Seager, who hit what would have been his third home run of the spring, a two-run HR in the fourth; Chone Figgins, who had two hits and drove in the other run in the fourth; and Ichiro, a 1-2 day after coming in with a .409 average.
It also wiped away a potential win for Hector Noesi, who was headed back out for the fifth when the first delay was called. He allowed two runs on four hits in four innings and took another step toward sewing up a spot in the rotation.
“He’s really pitched well and to think that today was not under everyday circumstances, he handled it well, too, so he’s done a nice job for us,” Wedge said. “. … We wanted to get him to about 75-80 but got him to the low 60s, partly because when we do come back from Japan we still have some time to set it up for us, so we’ll pitch some of these guys over there, too, so we are in the midst of setting that up with the exhibition games, as well.”
Figgins played short today and had one nice play on a ball deep in the hole, as well as the couple of hits.
“He’s done a nice job everywhere he’s been,” Wedge said. “He’s putting up really good (at-bats), and he’s had a lot of hard outs this spring. He did a good job there with two strikes dumping that ball into left field for an RBI. He enjoys playing. I don’t think he’s really too concerned about where he’s playing he just enjoys playing and it really helps us out that he is that versatile.”
As for Ichiro, Wedge said: “He’s had a real good spring. He’s swinging the bat well and I think that when you look at the way he’s swinging the bat and the way he’s seeing pitches, or seeing the ball, I should say, it’s been real good. Been really pleased with it.”
On a day like this, when Ichiro and Figgins went a combined 3-5, there seems to be some hope for the revamped Mariner lineup, which Wedge discussed again afterward.
“(The change was) a combination of things. I think (Ichirio) is a hitter first and foremost and he will benefit from being in the three hole, but most importantly I think we will benefit. It’s also about getting Figgins back to the leadoff spot and getting him back on track and getting on base and scoring runs for us. And putting (Dustin) Ackley in that two hole — I think the combination of those three guys and then we have the big guys behind them, it should work for us.”
Those “big guys” later in the order include first baseman Justin Smoak, whom Wedge said has also had a good camp.
“I like the way he came into camp in great shape — he’s stronger, he’s swinging the bat well,” Wedge said. “He’s still understanding the type of big league hitter he is going to be but I think he’s going to do a good job in the middle of the lineup for us.”
As for Seager, whose chances to play improved when Carlos Guillen retired and haven’t been hurt by the power he has shown (wind-aided or not), Wedge said: “He’s really driven the ball better this spring. He’s always been a good, hard contact guy. But he’s stronger, his body is working better because he is a little bit more flexible and his core is in a little bit better condition for him from a baseball standpoint and he’s been swinging the bat well.”
Also, Wedge said the team had planned to get shortstop Brendan Ryan back in the lineup Sunday but decided against it due to the wet conditions. He hasn’t played since Wednesday while nursing a quad injury. He’s scheduled to play Monday.
And he said catcher Jesus Montero didn’t play after getting sick but is scheduled to be a designated hitter on Monday.

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan, Chone Figgins, Jesus Montero

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