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April 4, 2012 at 4:56 PM

Mariners end Cactus League play, and this time they mean it

The Mariners finished their exhibition season with a 7-2 win over Colorado that featured two triples from Chone Figgins, and three hits from John Jaso, who had only one hit all spring coming into the game.
The Mariners bunched six straight hits in their five-run fourth, three of them for extra bases. Jet lag? What jet lag? In four games since coming back from Japan (not counting Saturday’s game in which they fielded a minor-league lineup), the Mariners are hitting .353 (54-for-153) and have scored 28 runs. They’ve had three homers, four triples and 10 doubles in those games.

The Mariners got a strong seven-inning performance from Hector Noesi, whose next start will be for real on Monday in Arlington against the Texas Rangers. He was throwing in the mid-90s, Eric Wedge said.
Here’s what Wedge had to say about spring training, in which the Mariners finished 16-9-1: “It was a good camp for us, a good spring, on many different levels. That’s what you have to really focus on. Look at our position players individually, and you have to be happy, for the most part, with what you’re seeing. Defensively, particularly with our starters, I feel pretty good about our ability to catch the ball.
“This is just the beginning, albeit a second beginning, I guess. We’re looking forward to getting out of camp and getting going.”
On the decision to keep Alex Liddi over Carlos Peguero, and Lucas Luetge over Charlie Furbush, he said, “Alex was tremendous all camp. We were able to move him to first base as well as third base. You look at his right-handed bat, his development, how much better he is this year versus last year. With Luetge, this is a young man who came here as a Rule 5 and was very impressive. Not just his ability with left handers, but his ability with right handers. He earned a spot on this bacllub.”
Wedge confirmed Figgins is going to see a lot of time in the outfield initially, which had become apparent with the decision to send out Peguero, and also with the fact Figgins has been playing left field most games since coming back from Japan.
“I think early on, with (Franklin) Gutierrez being out (Figgins will be in the outfield),” Wedge said. “That’s why we had him play there more over the course of the past week. We moved him all over the place, and we feel comfortable with him everywhere. That’s where that versatility helps us.”
He added of Figgins, “He’s done a lot of things this camp he needed to do – that we needed to see and he needed to see. You’ve got to be pleased with that.”
Wedge said that Kyle Seager will see considerable action to start the season.
“This guy is a hitter, he’s always been a hitter. But now he’s stronger, he’s more confident. He knows he can come up and hit at this level. He’s earned that playing time.”
Finally, Wedge said that Gutierrez (torn pectoral) and Mike Carp (shoulder sprain) will both remain in Arizona, probably through the end of the road trip.
“Gutierrez is ahead of Carp, so we’ll get him out first,” he said. “We’ll look to get him some DH at-bats. We’ll re-evaluate where Carp is after the road trip, but Gutierrez isn’t too far away.”

Comments | Topics: Chone Figgins


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