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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 9, 2008 5:34 PM

Under way from the Power Plant

Posted by Jose Romero

Game over: Mariners (SS) 10, Diamondbacks 7
In Phoenix, Mariners lost 2-0 to Milwaukee, so they are now 5-6 in the Cactus League. Here's some info from intrepid baseball writer Larry Stone, who has arrived in Arizona and was at the game in Phoenix while I was in Tucson.

His report:

The Mariners avoided the embarrassment of being no-hit by the Brewers, but scratched out just two singles, sent 28 batters -- one over the minimum -- to the plate, and never advanced a runner past first base.

The Mariners, featuring a lineup that included regulars Ichiro, Jose Vidro, Raul Ibanez, Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre, were hitless into the seventh (with Brewers starter Claudio Vargas working five spotless innings) before Vidro led off with a single to center.

But Vidro was promptly erased on a double play. Beltre led off the eighth with another single, but that, too, was followed by a double-play ball.

The Mariners' only other base runner (and the only one to be stranded) was Willie Bloomquist, who walked in the third.

Mariners bench coach Jim Riggleman managed the game against Milwaukee while John McLaren was with the split squad in Tucson. Asked if he was dreading having to call McLaren and tell him his team had been no-hit, Riggleman laughed and said, "I know. I know. It was a small condolence to get a couple of hits."

Riggleman added, "The guys were irritated they didn't get any hits, and that's a good thing. They have pride. They don't feel good about the way the results were today. That will make them work that much harder."

Note from Phoenix:
-Lefthander Jake Woods was a standout for the Mariners, working two perfect innings with four strikeouts. Ryan Rowland-Smith also pitched two scoreless innings (two hits, one strikeout), and Eric O'Flaherty pitched one scoreless inning (no hits, one strikeout).

Notes from Tucson:
-McLaren said Aumont's outing was kept a secret on purpose in a designed move to avoid a big media buildup. "Good experience for him," McLaren said of the 19-year-old. "There's a lot of things he's got to learn in this game and it just gave him a little preview of what the game is all about on a higher level. He's going to be great."
-McLaren called Ramirez "two different pitchers," and said he looked best in the third inning.
-McLaren said Morse's home run was a perfect swing and that it made him feel good. "He's on the radar screen. We know what he's doing," McLaren said.
-Jose Lopez was 2-for-5 with 3 RBI and raised his spring average to .267.
-Brad Wilkerson was 2-for-5 with 2 RBI and is batting .357.

Top 8

Brad Wilkerson doubled deep into the gap in left center and drove in Mark Kiger and Greg Norton, who had walked with two out. Wilkerson is now 5-for-14 in spring training with 3 RBI. 10-7 Mariners.


Top 7

Morse just got his third hit, a double down the LF line. Runners at second and third for Lopez. He grounds out to a drawn-shortstop, run scores, 8-7 M's. Lopez is 2-for-4 with 3 RBI, his best game of the spring.


Middle of 6th

7-7 is the score in a slugfest. I've been told that Jose Vidro broke up a no-hitter in Maryvale and the M's are down 2-0 to the Brewers in the 7th in the split-squad game.

Spoke to Ramirez in the clubhouse just now and he said he's working on his changeup in camp, and it wasn't spotted as well as in previous outings. "The worst pitch I made was the one to Burke, the double in the gap," he said. "I was trying to a double-play ball there, but it stayed up in the zone and he hit it good. Besides that inning, my other two I thought, were good."
Stottlemyre told Ramirez to be more aggressive after the second inning.


Top 5
UPDATE: Tui time...RBI single for the Woodinville native who's great to talk to, by the way. 7-6 Seattle.
Matt Tuiasosopo is 3-for-10 in the spring with 3 RBI.

Must be a good group of Mariners fans here, because they just cheered a Jose Lopez double that drove in Brad Wilkerson and Mike Morse. It's tied at 6. Five RBI for Lopez this spring.


MINOR-LEAGUE CAMP NOTE:

Minor-league camp had its first full workout Saturday. There are 133 players from the upper levels of the system are in camp. Rookie level players will report in a couple of weeks. The group (not counting non-roster players in major-league camp) includes 44 right-handed pitchers, 20 LHPs, 17 catchers, 28 infielders and 24 outfielders.
Minor league games begin March 14.


Bottom 4th
UPDATE II: Two-run single up the middle for the O-Dog, Orlando Hudson, and it's 6-4 D-backs.
UPDATE: Exit Aumont, who struggled. The bases are loaded with a run in after Aumont gave up two hits, a walk and hit a batter. He faced five hitters and got one out. Sean White is in to pitch. 4-4 game.

Phillippe Aumont, the M's first-round pick in 2007, is in to pitch. First major-league game action of the spring.

Top 4th
UPDATE: Jeremy Reed delivers a two-out, two run single to give the Mariners a 4-3 lead. Reed has two hits on the day.

Morse with another hit, he's 11-for-20 in the spring. Has two today.

End 2nd

50 pitches for Ramirez, 36 in the second. He got a lecture from pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre in the dugout.

Bottom 2nd

Ramirez looked OK in the first inning, but has struggled with his control some in the second. Back-to-back walks and a single loaded the bases, and Chris Burke ripped a bases-clearing double. 3-2 D-backs.


Top 2nd

Interesting how McLaren spoke of roster cuts earlier. One guy he won't cut soon, if ever in spring training, is Mike Morse. The big utility player just homered to the opposite field (right) and gave the M's a 2-0 lead after Kenji Johjima's double. Brandon Webb, Arizona's two-time All-Star and 2006 Cy Young Award winner.


Bot 1st

Here's Horacio Ramirez making his first spring training start. Big crowd on hand here. Greg Norton doubled in the top of the inning. He's hitting left-handed and took the ball to left.

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Posted by ethan

1:22 PM, Mar 09, 2008

somehow, someway..Horacio Ramirez is actually the "poor man's Horacio Ramirez."

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:41 PM, Mar 09, 2008

HoRam sucks, he should be DFA today! Yeah I know its still spring training. But the young "non-veterans" are still carrying this team. I say cut Willie and Cairo today!!! That way when we finally get around to accepting that Vidro and Sexson are not going to get it done, we have legitimate replacements.

Posted by newm'sfan

2:08 PM, Mar 09, 2008

AKMarinersfan,
I couldn't agree more. These guys have run their course in the league and its time to let a couple youngsters step in and show them how its done, on the flip side because of money and options this will likely put some of the young players in AAA to start the season until the all star break and the M's are 15 or more games out of first place!! Have to love the politics of pro sports!

Posted by NW08

2:24 PM, Mar 09, 2008

Where's Geoff? Jose is doing a great job in his place.

Posted by helpFelix

3:23 PM, Mar 09, 2008

I really think Seattle better be putting Clement at 1B in AAA thru the end of June, because "if" Sexson has a horrible half Bavasi is gonna have to do something drastic by mid season. LaHair is decent and would provide better defense at 1B than Clement, but we HAVE to figure out a way to get Clement's bat in the lineup 100% of the time in 2008!

By June 1st, I guess they could shuffle things up big time by doing:

1) Benching Sexson & start platooning him with Ibanez @ 1b; then
2) Morse becomes LF starter
3) Clement comes up and DHs
4) Vidro is relegated to the bench as a PHer (expensive albeit), and depending on what Lopez is doing...either a platoon with Lopez OR just giving Lopez a periodic break once a week.

Heck, I'd be tempted on 4/1 to just go with that route anyways & platoone Ibanez/Sexson @ 1B. Then Ibanez would get about 80% playing time because of the ratio of RHPs & LHPs. When a LHP steps in during the late innings then you bring in Sexson. If LHPs start, then you start Sexson and when a RHP RPs come in then you bench Sexson and bring out Raul!

AND Clement as our fulltime DH in 2008 would prevent Vidro's 2009 option from vesting, and strengthen our bench substantially!

Posted by Ziasudra

5:33 PM, Mar 09, 2008

Pitching - HoRam got an execution reprieve with his last inning; otherwise he gets toasted/fried, whatever on the spot. Aumont won't get released. Baek might.
Hitters - Morse should have the team made, Reed almost so. Feel sorry for Jimerson. Can Norton. Wilkerson is starting to show signs of being useful.
I wish Clement would consider 1B, as suggested above. He and Vlad would be great insurance in AAA.
We don't need both Willie and Cairo. Mac said earlier that with both of them, he could use a runner in the 7th, and not have to hesitate until the 9th (which often didn't come. . . ). The problem with that thinking last year, is that Mac showed he was afraid to go for the win at the first opportunity, which may be the only one. "He who hesitates is lost." Or, something like that. He wants the team to be agressive, but he himself was unwilling to be, at least last year.
PS - It was good to see Lopez contribute.

Posted by wenatchee

8:40 PM, Mar 09, 2008

I agree with almost everything that people have said so far. There's one problem, the management doesn't. Listening to Mac talk, I am almost certain that HoRam will make the team, Reed and Clement end up in AAA until Aug and Morse and Jimerson disappear. He is talking like Norton and Cairo are locks which means byebye Mike Morse and hello 3rd place. I hope that I am wrong

Posted by Adam

9:09 PM, Mar 09, 2008

Wow, Ziasudra, you are really going out on a limb by claiming Aumont won't get released.

You sir, have brass!


Re: Willie and Cairo - If McLaren wants Cairo around just so he has two pinch-runners available late in games, well, that's just stupid. Of course, this is McLaren we are talking about.


I think Morse is going to make the team, although Ken Rosenthal wrote today that the M's are in search of a veteran (you guessed it!) RH OF bat. Gotta love those veterans. You know, they've been through the wars and all...


Clement shouldn't play 1B. There's no reason. He's still got work to do to become a big-league C. Besides, he's not nearly as valuable a player if he's at 1B or DH. They have to make sure he can't catch at the big-league level.

Posted by Rob

11:11 PM, Mar 09, 2008

Rosenthal updated that article saying the Mariners are no longer interested in seeking an outfielder and are content with what they have. I guess they like what Morse is doing.

Posted by John

11:13 PM, Mar 09, 2008

I completely agree about our bench. Unless Morse suddenly explodes on the scene, it ain't pretty. I also agree with Adam that Clement needs to spend another year learning to catch. If that does happen though, then that means Seattle is just going to let Johjima go for nothing, because keeping Clement in the minors in 2009 would be a waste, and re-signing Joh would mean a backup role for Clement - unless they finally did the smart thing and got rid of Vidro. Hmmm ... would be interested on your thoughts.

And HoRam stinks. It is a JOKE that he is even under consideration for a spot on the major league roster.

Posted by Ziasudra

6:38 AM, Mar 10, 2008

Yeah, Adam, I was feling frisky yesterday. . . .
John, the only reason that HoRam is kept around is either: 1. Bill wants to get something back on his investment (Soriano); or, 2. Stottlemeyer wants a chance to display his magic wand on a reclaimation project. Both possibilities are a hint of ego showing through. Who knows?
How many bull pen lefty prospects do we have? six? What are we going to do with them?

Posted by Chuck

8:45 AM, Mar 10, 2008

Bye-bye Horam! Hello Morse!

Posted by dblog

9:26 AM, Mar 10, 2008

Jose,

If the M's do not keep Morse, and go out and get a vet instead I'm done with them. You can't win consistantly by adding vets to an aging lineup, sooner or later they are too old and past there primes.

If McClaren has a fault , its his over reliance on vets. He did that last year down the stretch and they lost!

Look at Colorado & Cleveland. They show you can win with youth. The A's did it for years with Beane and he's rebuilding again. Youth plays with a fierce hunger and desire that vets lose at some point.

The key is adding young guns to your team to replace aging vets. Trade those vets for prospects that can be tomorrows young guns. That's the cycle we should be on!

Posted by SeeYaShaun

10:26 AM, Mar 10, 2008

The players were upset that they almost got no hit in spring training? Oh OK well I will accept it then. Way to show that pride. (Sarcasm) I'm with most of you, if Morse isn't at least given an opportunity to show he can play in the bigs, it will cause quite the uproar. I imagine it would not do well for his psyche either.

Posted by reality3

10:42 AM, Mar 10, 2008

I agree! Clearly Morse and Reed need to be on the openning day roster. Raul needs to realize he cannot be in the outfield. Reed needs to be there(lf) for defense and Ibanez can DH. Morse can spell Wilkerson and Reed. Morse can also play 1B and DH.

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