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March 20, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Wrapping up Mariners’ 8-1 win over the Reds

It was a nice, solid performance all the way around for the Mariners here today in Goodyear as they beat the Reds 8-1 to improve to 12-7-1 on the spring.
Here’s the box score and here’s a recap.
The Mariner brain trust will now meet further to discuss the 30-man roster for the trip to Japan, which must be settled by the time the team leaves at noon on Thursday. We were told today not to expect the roster to be released until shortly before the team leaves, however. The Mariners have 39 players on their current spring Major League roster, though that includes the injured Adam Moore and Franklin Gutierrez.
So that means the Mariners have to leave seven others behind. The team will then have to declare a 25-man roster for the two games against the A’s on March 28-29. The Mariners will return to Peoria for a few more days before beginning the season in earnest on April 6. So there could be further fluctuation before then.
That the Mariners don’t need the back end of the rotation pitchers until April 9-10-11 in Texas gives some further flexibility on the roster.
Still, those are decisions the team needs to make sooner rather than later, and the team may have given a glimpse of things today when Kevin Millwood got the start and Hisashi Iwakuma came out of the bullpen.
Manager Eric Wedge said later the main reason each pitched here was for each to get in an “A” game before the Japan trip.
Still, he said using Iwakuma out of the bullpen (which would increase what seem already pretty high odds Millwood would make the rotation)
“We wanted to take a look at Iwakuma out of the bullpen today and we wanted them both to pitch this A game today too, so, I was really impressed with the way they handled things today, the way Millwood controlled the ballgame and Iwakuma coming in in a different role too, but it was mostly pitching this A game today,” Wedge said.
Asked specifically about using Iwakuma out of the pen, he said: “We’re looking at everything right now and we’ll discuss things when we get back tonight. Obviously we are getting down to crunch time and in reality the next 24 hours we’ve got to decide what we are going to do and which 30 we are going to take. We had a lot of conversations this morning with guys and most of these guys understand where they are going to be and if they are going to be coming with us but we still have a couple of decisions to make.”
This was Iwakuma’s best outing of the spring and lowered his ERA for the spring to 3.75.
“I thought his fastball played up a little bit and his secondary stuff was right there along with that,” Wedge said. “He pitched smart today and you saw a lot of things that you like to see.”
As for Millwood, it was pretty much more of what we’ve seen all spring as he struck out five in five innings, allowing four hits and one earned run — he’s now allowed two earned runs in his last 12 innings.
He said later “I feel good about where I’m at. I’m pretty happy.” As for whether he thinks he has a role on the team, he said “I feel like I’ve improved every time out. The rest of it is not up to me.”
Said Wedge: “Millwood is a pro, he knows what he’s doing out there, makes pitches, executes pitches and I thought he did a real good job with his fastball today.”
The pitching was capped off by a 1-2-3 ninth by Rule 5 pick Lucas Luetge, including two strikeouts, a performance that took him another step closer to making the team, as well. He’s on the list to pitch tomorrow against the White Sox in Peoria.
“It was nice to see Lucas throw the ball the way he did there in the ninth inning too,” Wedge said.
The offensive stars were Kyle Seager (3-5, 3 doubles), Munenori Kawasaki (3-5) and Carlos Peguero (2-run homer, two-run single).
Of Seager, Wedge said: “I tell you I think it (his performance this spring) is (real). This is a young man who has hit everywhere he has been and he continues to progress at this level. He’s a lot stronger, his core is really working for him from a physical standpoint, he’s a little bit more flexible, he uses his hands very well and you’ve seen him barrel up the ball all spring — he’s had a real good spring for us.”
Of Kawasaki, he said: “He’s had a great spring too. We moved him around there halfway through the game to get him at third base and he had a nice start to that turn there. He’s done everything he could do to be on this ballclub.”
Wedge said Peguero has also shown an improved glove, something that remains a big question.
“Defensively I think he has made a lot of improvements,” Wedge said. “I thought (first base coach) Mike Brumley did a nice job with him up at the big leagues last year and he was able to take it right down to the minor leagues so he understands he needs to be a complete player and he’s really worked hard at it.”
Also of note, Jesus Montero caught all nine innings and showed a nice arm when he threw out Brandon Phillips trying to steal in the first inning.
Wedge said again not to expect Montero to catch every day, but that they continue to see progress in his work behind the plate.
“This is a young man still working into the position but I’ve said all along this guy is going to be a big league catcher and I think at some point in time he is going to be an everyday big league catcher,” he said. “He is working really hard with (third base coach and former catcher) Jeff Datz and he’s excited about the position and he understands that we don’t have to fast-forward this — we can take it out our pace, and that is what we are going to do.”
UPDATE, 8:30 p.m. — Meant to add this earlier, but here are the lines for Erasmo Ramirez and Brandon League, who pitched in a minor league game today:
Erasmo Ramirez – 3.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Brandon League – 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R (faced 4 batters)
Here’s some of Wedge’s post-game meeting with the media:

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