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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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March 3, 2008 3:15 PM

Let's play two!

Posted by Jose Romero

End Game: Cubs 6, Mariners 5

Nice ninth-inning rally by the M's (three runs) and Matt Tuiasosopo has a chance to win or tie it with a hit with two outs, but he strikes out swinging. Good moment for the youngster, though. He had the crowd behind him and was up there swinging against a proven major-leaguer in Cubs P Bob Howry.

Notes:
-Ichiro is now 0-for-5 with a walk in two games.
-Mike Morse is still on a tear after his ninth inning double to left off the wall on the fly. Morse is 5-for-7 in the spring (.714).
-Miguel Batista hopes to redeem himself after a rough outing in the charity game last Thursday. He starts tomorrow at Oakland in Phoenix. Batista gave up two earned runs on two hits and walked three in 2 1/3 innings.

Seventh-inning stretch

As they sing a Harry Caray classic, "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," the Cubbies have broken ths one open with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. It's 6-2 Chicago. Washburn spoke of how his changed grip on his changeup worked out well today.
"I'm always up for trying something new," Washburn said. "So far it feels good. It's just a slight variation of the grip I used last year, basically. I just move the ball a little bit in my fingers and I have the pressure point
in a different spot. More pressure on the middle finger and I hope it doesn't cut."

Top 5

Nice defensive play by Jose Lopez, who catches the carom off SS Mark Kiger's glove on a hard ground ball from Chicago's Matt Murton and fires to first in time for the out. Two out.

End 3rd

In keeping with the spirit of the Cubs, I thought I would change the headline to an Ernie Banks quote.
Washburn's day is over. I got him for 40 total pitches, 26 for strikes. No runs, four hits, 1 strikeout. Pretty effective.

Top 3

I assumed wrong. Washburn is working so fast that he is back out there for another inning. He hits a batter but also picks off another runner after a single.

Bottom 2

OK, that's the second straight day that a Mariners hitter has pegged an opposing pitcher with a hit ball. Jeremy Reed did it and got an infield hit for an RBI, Reed's first hit of the spring. The Mariners hit the ball hard off of Cubs starter Jon Lieber with two runs on three hits in the inning. 2-0 Seattle.

Top 2
Another hit given up by Washburn, but he worked fast and never got deep into counts. This inning he threw only 9 pitches. Six were strikes. 25 total. Wow. Washburn's day, I assume at this point, is over and it lasted 16 minutes of game time.

Top 1
Nick Lachey, the celebrity/co-owner of the AAA Tacoma Rainiers, is watching this game from a broadcasters' booth. He's wearing his Rainiers jersey.
Jarrod Washburn throws 16 pitches in the first inning, allows no runs on two hits. Ten of Washburn's pitches were strikes.

The Cubs haven't won yet. I was just channeling Harry Caray from the days when I used to leave junior high, get home on the bus and turn on WGN to catch the last inning or two of a Cubs game with Harry and Steve Stone on the broadcast. Game on. 1:08 p.m. Arizona time, 65 degrees with a nice wind blowing out to left field.

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Posted by Donovan

12:38 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Whatever else you say about Washburn, you gotta love the pace he works at. I know the other players do.

Posted by oregongal

12:41 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Just got onto the website and tuned in the game. I have a somewhat frustrating situation where I can have the TV on all day (and night), but I have so many deadlines coming up that I can't actually pay attention to it. So I see Jose's first headline about Beltre being gone and my heart stops (condolences to him and his family) and then the Cubs win headline. Are you trying to kill me? (But you better believe I checked it out immediately.)

I don't get the whole Vidro in the field thing. It seems like we're doing a lot of dancing around the middle infielders. If they really think Lopez is going to be such a huge hole we need multiple backups, then get rid of him so we can balance the rest of the team.

Geez, while writing this, I just missed a pick off. Better go.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

12:53 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Anyone else noticing a trend (yeah I know its really early). It seems like the less experienced players are coming through while the "veterans" are struggling. I am sure that McLaren will come up with something like "its only spring training" to explain the veterans struggles. The success of the younger players will be dismissed with "I like to see them competing" comment.

My concern is this managment team is so locked into sticking with the veterans is that they will rationalize any spring training outcome. Its got to be frustrating if you are Morse or Reed (or Balentien) to know that whatever you do you still might not be "good enough" to beat out Willie and Cairo.

I think one of the major keys to success this year is for the M's management to change their viewpoint on "veterans" vs "younger players". Personally I am not holding out a lot of hope.

Posted by jujay

12:58 PM, Mar 03, 2008

AK- you have to remember the young guys have been playin all winter. I would expect them to outdo the vets for the first few weeks. It takes a little time to get your rhythm and timing down. Ichiro hasnt got a hit yet but no one is complaining about him.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:06 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Reed and Morse didnt't play winter league this year....

You are comparing Ichiro to any other "veteran" on this team? After 10 years of being the best hitter in baseball I think we can give Ichiro a pass on spring training. Fortantely its not so complicated for the other "veterans".

Posted by jujay

1:11 PM, Mar 03, 2008

I'm only using Ichiro to show that even the best veterans need some at bats to get their timing and rhythm back. It's way to early to be judging anyone other than the people who have been playing all winter, and they are doing extremely well.

Posted by jujay

1:14 PM, Mar 03, 2008

and I don't care how good Reed does in a couple games, he has proven himself incapable with the bat at the big league level. I would love to trade him away for any type of prospect

Posted by oregongal

1:36 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Ernie Banks is always my answer to the "who never got a World Series ring but should have" question. Thanks for mentioning him today.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:36 PM, Mar 03, 2008

I agree its early. However when we near the end of spring training and its clear that other players better choices than Willie and Cairo,

Again I am just concerned about the Mariners management not being very openminded to the roster construction.

We need to have reporters like Jose pepper McLaren with questions about how well the younger players are performing.


One of the things I have never understood is that you would think that Bavasi would want Morse and Reed to succeed. Then he could claim that the Garcia trade was a good one (with Freddy's injuries it probably is anyway).

Posted by jujay

1:39 PM, Mar 03, 2008

I like Willie, but I agree that he and especially Cairo should not be locks to make the team. There is simply too much young talent in this organization that needs to come up.

Posted by Donovan

1:56 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Early ST performances mean absolutely nothing for any guy already penciled into a starting role, and everybody knows it. The MiL players have more to prove. That's just the way it is. Let's see how things like in 2 or 3 weeks before making any sweeping conclusions.

My own idea of optimum team chemistry is a mixture of experience and youth. I'm hopeful we'll see that this year. I really don't understand why people think that last year's half season under a long list of extenuating circumstances somehow told them everything they need to know about McLaren's attitude toward playing veterans and young players. Give the man a chance.

I'd really like to see the team enter the season with 11 pitchers and a diverse bench that gets used a lot. Though it seems strange given how the season went, the biggest question in most minds coming out of ST last year was the bullpen. Carrying extra arms made sense. With our more experienced pen and especially our tuned up rotation, I think we need more live bats than spare arms.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:25 PM, Mar 03, 2008

This just in....Adam Jones hit a ball a long long ways today....

Posted by jon

2:35 PM, Mar 03, 2008

AK...Get off the Adam Jones crap. The trade is done and gone. he hit it off a guy that has not been in the big leagues since 2005 and a grand total of 26 games pitched since 1999! Who cares! Its spring training and as others have said, guys with Winter experience are in their stride.

Posted by oregongal

2:40 PM, Mar 03, 2008

On the other hand...AK, keep posting the AJ stuff. I don't care if he doesn't play for us. He's still going to be an exciting player to watch. I still want to know what Sherrill does, even though he's not here anymore either. Doesn't mean I'm not rooting for our current team.

Posted by Jeff

2:43 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Regardless of Adam Jones' HR or who he hit is off of, it was still a TERRIBLE trade.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

2:44 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Mike Morse hits another Double!

"They can't get him out." Dave Niehaus

Mike starts a 9th inning rally. Go Mike!

Posted by Jon

2:48 PM, Mar 03, 2008

jeff...did you play ball or just comment on it. Pitching Beats hitting every time. I guy Great when he hits only 35% of the time....besides no evaluation can be made on this trade until after the year if not after 10 years. Both are young with huge upsides and will be around for a long time.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

3:02 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Uggh...Cairo got two hits and a SB. McLaren will now lable him as a "professional hitter" (they were Vidro-like dink singles), with "great" speed, and tremendous defensive versatility. Plus he has been through the wars and has great clubhouse chemisty.

Posted by Jeff

3:03 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Jon,

I've played my fair share of ball. Let's put it in simple terms....

That guy that held the record for consecutive scoreless innings in the World Series for 43 years. You know, that guy was was 78-40 over four years of full time pitching, where he had ERAs of 2.44, 1.75, 2.01, and 2.22. Do you remember that guy?

Yeah. They made Babe Ruth a hitter because he was more valuable to the team that way.

This is really that extreme of an example, because the Babe was one of the best pitchers in baseball too.

Posted by Mike

3:05 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Great pitching most certainly does not beat great hitting every time. Both great pitchers and great hitters do worse against each other than against the rest of the league.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

3:08 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Oregongal

Not sure if you heard but Sherril gave up a homerun the other day to...gulp...Bret Boone.

Posted by jon

3:19 PM, Mar 03, 2008

You cannot bring up Babe Ruth to justify a trade in this era. Many many more pitchers in his day and very little hitters jacking homeruns. totally different era....but back to 2008...

Simply, I would rather have Bedard over Weaver/hoRam than have Jones instead of Balentine/Wilkerson/Morse.

The trade made the mariners better but then again by your count isnt Balentine as good as Jones with both having 2 homeruns? or Morse who is tearing the cover off the ball?

Posted by gk13

3:26 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Ten years? Doubt Bedard will be here 3 years let along ten.

Posted by Mike

3:30 PM, Mar 03, 2008

It's actually a fun conversation to have. Let's ignore the steroids for a minute and ponder if we were to start a team would you first choose vintage Barry Bonds or vintage Roger Clemens?

I'd take the field player, partcularly if he was good defensively.

Posted by Brazilian fan

3:36 PM, Mar 03, 2008

We have to assume that Norton is not in the bench, right? Because if we count him, it's gonna be tought with so much veterns and let the kids go

Posted by Mike

3:43 PM, Mar 03, 2008

3 years from now Bedard will have won about 35 games for the Mariners and helped us win 85 games a year and done just enough to save Bavasi's job. He willbe entering free agaency looking to make (hmmm, wild arsed guess here) about $25M-$30M a year.

3 years from now Adam Jones will be a stellar CF with 40-45 home runs (over 2 season) and still only be 25 and under Oriole control for 4 more years.

Posted by Mike

3:47 PM, Mar 03, 2008

oops...should've said 2 years from now..my bad

Posted by jon

3:59 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Mike,

If you are to make unfounded statements then here is mine and since Bedard did miss a month last year on a horrible team why not...

Bedard could win 40 games (20 each yr), win Cy young a couple times, we win the Series and jones gets hurt or becomes Corey Patterson. Its all resonable when pulling statements out of thin air.

And why would we not try to continue signing Bedard to a long term deal. Everyone writes that off but I dont see why not. It IS a possibility. Heck, many have said that Philip Aumont will be an ace in a couple years with his mid-high 90s heater. Maybe we wont need bedard at that time...

That said, the Bedard trade is the only trade that Bevasi has made that made sense whether you like it or not. It filled needs for both squads. Everything else has been horrible....how I long to have Soriano back....

Posted by Mike

4:13 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Jon...Unfounded or not those are my best predictions. We can quibble over Bedard winning 17.5 games or 20 if you like. I could just have easily said Bedard will win 40 over the next 2 years (he might) and my point would be the same.

I agree with you on Soriano and I think Bedard is a stud. I just think given the Ms problems with defense and an offense that is walk and power-averse that even with Bedard we have a way to go to catch Anaheim. So that's why I was against trading so much for Bedard. Believe me, if I thought Bedard would put us in the 95 win realm I too might have given up Jones. So in essence we just disagree on how good the Ms are. I hope you are right and I am wrong.

Posted by SpringMsFan

5:41 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Whats the story behind that annoying bugle? I hear it almost every spring training and it sounds stupid. Are we allowed to bring musical instruments to the ball park?

I can't stand that annoying bugle.

Posted by John

6:30 PM, Mar 03, 2008

As someone who has always been a fan of Mike Morse, I'd really like to see him get a shot. I love his attitude, and I've always thought he could make a pretty good outfielder as he develops ... maybe Bone with less pop but higher average.
Personally, I hope he makes the team. I agree with some who say Reed is never going to be anything but a utility player, and we have enough of those already.

Posted by John

6:32 PM, Mar 03, 2008

As someone who has always been a fan of Mike Morse, I'd really like to see him get a shot. I love his attitude, and I've always thought he could make a pretty good outfielder as he develops ... maybe Bone with less pop but higher average.
Personally, I hope he makes the team. I agree with some who say Reed is never going to be anything but a utility player, and we have enough of those already.

Posted by BavasiRocks

9:35 PM, Mar 03, 2008

Ak Mariners fan
If you want to watch young guys play, instead of the best guys, the Aquasox might be your team.

Jeff,
"Terrible" trade? For the O's maybe.

Posted by daddydriz

7:04 AM, Mar 04, 2008

SpringMsFan, I agree. It is almost as annoying as the Oakland A's drum corp.

Anyone headed to spring training who is willing to confiscate the bugle while they are there? We can start a collection. I am in for $10.

Posted by scrapiron

8:21 AM, Mar 04, 2008

Wow, you guys complaining about how the veterans are playing should look at the calendar. McLaren has said the first game he is going to play his starting lineup will be Wednesday to "set the tone" against the Angels. Until then, these games are nothing but a minor league game so the coaching staff can see what kind of minor league depth they have in case of trades or injury. The veterans are just in the lineup for an at bat or two and usually can tell the manager they're done for the day whenever they want and walk off the field.

Once the manager has made his first round of cuts and tells the players when they can leave the lineup is when the at bats and innings pitched starts to count.

For example, for those of you thinking that the Bedard trade is a bust based on the spring training stats so far, do you realize that Bedard took his last outing as a chance to work on his changeup? While his other pitches are first rate, his changeup by all scouting reports is only about 60% effective. He's working on this and if he can get this up to the level of his other pitches he can even be more dominant.

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