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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 7, 2008 3:01 PM

Live from Hohokam

Posted by Jose Romero

Game over: Chicago Cubs 6, Mariners 4

Another late rally for the M's falls short when Bronson Sardinha strikes out looking with two runners on base. M's go to 4-4 in Cactus League.
-Betancourt is now batting .400 in the spring (6-for-15).
-Jeremy Reed is 4-for-7 (.571) in the spring after getting a hit today.
-McLaren said Silva had a hard time gripping the ball, though he added it was not an excuse for his performance. The ball was slick from the way the balls are rubbed up combining with the dry weather.
-Wilkerson was thrown out at third base in the 7th trying to stretch a double into a triple, and McLaren said it was a bad baserunning mistake. "There's no excuse for that. He knows he made a mistake and we have to get that out of our system in spring training. We can't have that."
-More good relief pitching for Seattle as three pitchers (Ryan Rowland-Smith, Dickey, Sean Green) held the Cubs scoreless on only two hits over 4 2/3 innings.

Bottom 8
Nice outing for R.A. Dickey. Three innings of scoreless ball, two K's. He was pretty stoked about his effort and took pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre's advice to not rush his delivery of the knuckleball to heart and it helped. Nice peg by Jeff Clement to throw out a runner trying to steal second.

Mariners have cut it to 6-4. Morse got another hit, there was an error, a hit batsman, Yuniesky Betancourt's third RBI of the game and a sacrifice fly. Yes, Ichiro was hitless today, now 0-for-10 officially.

OK, to answer a couple of questions -- nothing official on Bubba Crosby but the minor league position players reported for their spring camp today and Crosby should have been among them. As for a minor-league game schedule, I hope to get that tomorrow but I've been told games don't start for at least another week.

Bottom 7

Johjima, from what I'm seeing, is doing fine with the knuckler of Dickey. Just heard from Carlos Silva and he said he overthrew in the bullpen before the game and missed with his location. He asked if he could go back into the game for the fourth inning to try and find his rhythm and was allowed to do so, it just didn't happen.

UPDATE: McLaren just came out to remove Silva after Daryle Ward's 2-run HR to right.
Silva: 3 1/3 inn., 7 hits, 6 earned runs, 2 BB, 18 batters faced. Yikes. But it's only spring training.

AK: Sexson hit the ball hard against the Angels but has struck out and grounded out softly to third today. He got a few boos when announced for his first at-bats.

Top 4th

Silva is getting hit. All three Cubs singles have been hit hard. It's 4-2 Cubs after a run-scoring ground ball. Silva should ve coming out after this inning. He's allowed six hits, walked two.

END 3rd

The highlights from this game have been Yuniesky Betancourt's home run to left field that he roped around the foul pole. Betancourt showed some patience, hitting a 3-1 pitch as the Mariners continue to give him a look in the No. 2 spot in the batting order.

Mariners starter Carlos Silva ran into some trouble in the first inning after being staked to the 2-0 lead. A single, a walk and a tough break when RF Brad Wilkerson fell down on a Derrek Lee hit made it 2-1.
But Silva did induce a double play, so now we're tied at 2.

Wilkerson showed a nice arm on his throw from right to third base to try and nab the Cubs' Kosuke Fukudome in the third after a fly ball out. It one hopped Mike Morse and Fukudome went in standing up, which made it a closer play than it should have been.

Sorry for the delay on getting this started. I had some computer problems which hopefully I have addressed.

67 degrees at game time.

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Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:02 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Jose - From what you have seen is Sexson making good contact and hitting the ball hard? The boxscore results aren't looking good but they don't tell the whole story.

Posted by alfrulz

1:23 PM, Mar 07, 2008

booing in spring training?
geez...give the guy an inch of slack will ya?
lets hear the haters

Silva not too good so far, but Sexie is just in spring training

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:29 PM, Mar 07, 2008

As I pointed out yesterday Sexson was hitting the ball hard against AA and AAA pitchers. I just can't see Sexson being sucessful this year if he doesn't have a good sprng training. It's important for this team to get off to a good start this year. Thats' not going to happen with several auto-outs in the lineup.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:32 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Jose - How is Joh handling Dickey today. 2K's so far looks good in the boxscore.

Posted by scrapiron

1:38 PM, Mar 07, 2008

They're not announcing on the radio that Johjima is having any issues catching Dickey, so I assume he's doing fine.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:47 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Wilkerson thrown out at 3rd...another success in the McLaren's aggressive baserunning approach?

Posted by BubbaFan

1:49 PM, Mar 07, 2008

I heard Seattle released Bubba Crosby. Does anyone know what happened? Did he not pass his physical?

Posted by Ned

2:09 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Ichiro's still hitless?

Posted by scrapiron

2:19 PM, Mar 07, 2008

If anyone is pining to hear from Geoff Baker, go to Geoff Baker answers some questions there while on vacation in Hawaii.

Posted by Ben

2:20 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Who cares if Wilkerson gets thrown out at 3rd? The point was to be aggressive and get the team in the mindset of running. I'm sure in a normal game we wouldn't be running the same way. I'm glad the mariners are trying to get a little more of a fundamentals/small ball type of play. I think that's how we can compete with the Angels.

Posted by Batter Up!!!

2:25 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Great AB for Mike Morse! He really is doing all he can to make the team!!!

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:25 PM, Mar 07, 2008

"the mindset of running"...I am sure that means something....

Posted by scrapiron

2:35 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Today's game should have helped to cement Dickey and Morse to the roster. I like it when guys earn it rather than have it handed to them. Norton, Cairo?

Posted by reality3

2:44 PM, Mar 07, 2008

I would also like to see Reed on the team. He is clearly the 2nd best defensive outfielder in the organization and looks to have his swing back.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

3:00 PM, Mar 07, 2008

scrap - It's ST. The #s mean whatever they want them to mean. When things are going well, for someone who's already got a slot, the numbers are "encouraging". When they aren't going well, "it's only ST".

Posted by BubbaFan

3:46 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Thanks, Jose. Appreciate any info you can provide.

Posted by oregongal

3:54 PM, Mar 07, 2008

So glad to be able to drop in on baseball again! Not sure what I've missed the last few days, but having Sexson booed is a really bad sign for him. I'm one of his harshest critics, but even I think he's going to be better this year than last year. Not worth the money, but hey, that's not my problem.

I did think the M's would trade him because if the polite Seattle fans start booing, it's going to be hard for him to shake it, unless he has a great year. He usually starts slow, and having home fans booing him if he does that again isn't going to help his psyche to get him off to a good start. But nobody wanted him without having us pay his salary, so he gets a chance to redeem himself in Seattle. We'll see how fragile his mind and body are.

Nice to see a good day for Dickey and Kenji. And yea! Yuni.

OMG, Beltre (another headline that made my heart skip a beat). I know he's tough and doesn't like days off, but I'd sure feel better if he'd been able to start the season with the thumb healed. Doesn't sound like it's quite there yet.

"We can't have that," Mac said about the baserunning mistake. That's why he drives me nuts, because earlier he said he wanted guys to be aggressive in ST and he expected a lot of extra outs because of it. I would think that those kinds of things would be looked at as learning something rather than as mistakes.

Posted by Donovan

7:55 PM, Mar 07, 2008

I hope everybody read Larry Stone's column today about the pitfalls of extrapolating anything that happens in ST beyond March. This goes for good performances as well as bad. The story he tells about Ichiro's rookie year, where Piniella doubted he could actually pull the ball, is real MLB folklore stuff, but Larry swears it is true. A nice article. Larry boldly predicts that Ichiro will get a hit or two this season. I'll boldly predict that Mike Morse won't hit .500. How's that for going out on a limb?

Posted by Merrill

7:59 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Oregongal, that seemed odd to me, too.

Thanks for those of you pointing out I left Burke off my "bench." I seem to have a hole in my brain there, that's the second time I've done that...

I think Burke has great value as a PH, and including him in my thinking (duh!) makes it much easier to understand Norton being the first guy to go if they go with 12 pitchers.

I'll bet you, scrapiron, were leaving him out only because he's a lock and it's the other guys who are up in the air...

Snowbound, I like Jimerson because of his blazing speed. I'm not sure that's worth a roster spot, but it's purely a situational thing, in my thinking. He did quite well in that role last September. I think he also brings good defense.

Re: those numbers you posted on him, the last, .911 OPS year in AA, makes perfect sense to me--he'd spent the previous year in AAA and was better than those guys. I don't think, though, that it means anything other than that. (i.e., in my opinion, it doesn't indicate whether he can or can't do that if he gets enough hacks in the majors.)

Chris, that's a hilarious comment. So true... segues nicely to Donovan's comments...

BubbaFan and Jose (or anyone who cares to pick up the slack), maybe I'm slow (OK, it's not a "maybe"), but I didn't understand the upshot of that exchange. What exactly does "released" mean in this context? Is he just gone, or merely optioned to the minor league camp? If the latter, does that mean a whole year's options used up on a young guy who won't even get a sip of coffee in September this year? I would think not, but would appreciate anyone with more knowledge stepping up to the plate here... (And the "September" thing brings up another question: Do late-season callups count against the three option years? Again, I'd think not, but...)

scrappy, thanks for the link...

Posted by helpFelix

8:35 PM, Mar 07, 2008

I came across this a little while ago, but since I live in Montana I wasn't around to listen to KJR this I can't validate this rumor. Also, I went to KJRs site, but their website SUCKS, and I couldn't find any afternoon Mariners report to this:

"I was listening to 950 KJR today on the way home from work. They said the Mariners have talked to Bonds' agent and they are interested in signing him as our DH.

He is looking for a 9Mil a year and is searching for other offers. They did say that seattle has talked to his agent and seattles willing to offer 5-7 million for a 1 yr deal..


Was anyone else listening to KJR this afternoon around commuting time??!!

Posted by helpFelix

8:35 PM, Mar 07, 2008

I've been advocating that for the past month! With Lackey & Escobar out and questionable for the first month of April, and NO infield to speak of, the Angels would be hurting. I heard that Escobar could be out until after the 1st week in May!

Lackey is questionable for opening day. FRod's disgruntled. Vlad's & Anderson are having shoulder troubles.

I'll take Seattle's rotation, bullpen, defense, AND BONDS any day over the Angels current lineup & rotation!

"If" they end up signing Bonds, that is telling everyone that they are definitely going for WS...and NOT just the division!

And with Bedard ahead of Felix, Felix FINALLY has a mentor to follow behind AND can finally take the pressure off as "having" to be the ace on this staff!

Bavasi signed Carl Everett & Jose Guillen for what purpose? It was a public thing that our club house needed that one player with an attitude. Even though there was a Moyer/Everett rivalry in MLB going on prior to the signing, they still signed him. They brought Guillen in, and he actually turned the club house around, and was a major "positive" factor, and a pick-me-upper kind of a guy.

2008? What better shoes to fill that "player with an attitude" position by pulling of a $7M Bonds signing for DH!

That would strengthen our bench 100 fold! Push Vidro to the bench to prevent his 2009 option from vesting, and place Vidro in a platoon situation @ 2B with Lopez, and give us a top notch (albeit overpaid) PHer that is a 300+ BA switchhitter. Which means that there's no spot for Norton, and even cairo is then questionable, but cairo "might" ride the pine with Willy for late inning pinch runners between the 6-9 innings.

NO WAY will Bonds get $9M/year! In fact, I will be SHOCKED "if" he can land a $7M 1yr deal anywhere! But anything in the $5-7M range to DH would be a killer deal for the M's.

Here's my offer to Bonds:

You get a $3M base salary, and every 10 HRs you record in 2008 you get an extra $1M. So "if" he hits 40HRs, he will cash in at $7M. So he "could" land $9M under that arrangement. Don't know if that's cosher with the MLB labor union, but I do know that they can give incentives like that on ABs. That way if ANY legal issues come up, and he finds himself behind bars, then the M's don't have to worry about paying him anything for the rest of the year.

LOW BASE, lots of incentives...with an OUT clause! Then just sit back, and see how many fans catch the HR ball from Hit-it-here Cafe!!!

I'm on board with this "if" this rumor is true!

Posted by oregongal

8:37 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Donovan, I heard a version of the Ichiro pulling the ball story earlier. What I heard was that Ichiro knew he was an unknown quantity and was deliberately underusing his skills so the opposition would have a bad scouting report on him. Being Ichiro, it might even be true...

I find the spring training comments to be great fun, probably because it's the first time I've followed it on a daily basis. Real baseball doesn't usually start for me until May because even in April, the guys are still figuring it out and it makes me crazy to watch. Besides, knowing some of these guys are going to get their dreams crushed is sad. At least whoever makes it to the big team gets a good paycheck for the season, even if their dreams get crushed later.

Posted by helpFelix

8:45 PM, Mar 07, 2008

Considering Sexson can ONLY hit a fastball, can you imagine the top 5 spots:


Sexson would see SO MANY fastballs, I haven't a doubt Sexson's HRs would hit AT LEAST 40 in 2008..."if" that were the case. And with both Sexson & Bonds averaging around 6-8 HRs each month, Beltre in the #3 hole above would be a killer #3-5 lineup.

Even this:



If anything If the KJR report is true, than we will be seeing this hit the papers sometime this weekend!

Posted by Adam

10:55 PM, Mar 07, 2008

helpfelix - I've been advocating Bonds for a while now, and I like your incentive-laden contract idea. Perhaps not tied to HRs, but rather games played, along with "behavioral" clauses. No special perks whatsoever. No personal trainers. No extra locker space.

That would move Vidro to the bench, where he belongs, but where he can still get 200-300 ABs. There would be no need for Norton. I'd still push hard to get rid of Cairo, as well. That would give us:



And room for 12 pitchers.

I'd feel a lot better about that lineup, although it still is awfully unathletic.

All that said, I don't think for a second that the hypocrites in the Seattle FO are even considering a go at Bonds.

Posted by BraveLittleTailor

11:56 PM, Mar 07, 2008

25 man roster predictions? Is it too early yet? This is what interests me most this ST. I am not going to list the starting 9 or 5 man roatation. 4 man bench and 7 relievers. Who makes it? Not who should but who will????



Comments? Again, more interested in what WILL happen rather than what should. thanks

Posted by ethan

12:26 AM, Mar 08, 2008

how long do we keep Reed?? wasnt he a starter for the M's like 2 years ago?
honestly, i cant wait to boo sexson when i get to arizona next week.

Posted by Merrill

1:42 AM, Mar 08, 2008

BLT, according to scrapiron a couple of threads back, FSN reported that Bloomquist, Cairo, and Norton were locks, along with Burke, and the competition was for fourth outfielder among Morse, Jimerson, and Balentien. (He said Reed, too, but since he's a lefty and they have already said they want a righty, that leaves him out.)

That would seem to indicate a 6-man pen, and keeping two "speed" guys, plus Morse's versatility, would seem to indicate leaving Jimerson out.

Further, scrappy said FSN reported that if they decide to keep 7 relievers, Norton would be the first cut off the bench.

I think Adam had a good point on a slightly later thread about leaving Lowe in AAA for now.

That would likely leave the sixth guy being a second lefty, between HoRam and Jimenez.

So, aside from those modifications, your guess looks as likely on the "WILL" factor as any.

It's early, and even if things have mostly already been decided, it's still a kick to watch and speculate and read others' speculations.

Ethan, I'm not a big fan of booing your own team. Nevertheless, your comment cracked me up. Re: your Reed comment, I'd guess they keep him until at least things have calmed down from next year's free-agent frenzy. I'm guessing he's gonna enhance his value with a good AAA season this year.

Enjoy the trip! I'm jealous... but I'll get over it, don't worry about me... (;

Posted by BubbaFan

9:19 AM, Mar 08, 2008

Merrill... Bubba Crosby was not on the 40-man roster and didn't even get a NRI. He was already assigned to minor league camp.

So if what I heard is true, and the Mariners released him, he's a free agent again, and can sign with any team.

In any case, Bubba is already out of options. If he weren't, he'd still be a Yankee.

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