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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 22, 2008 1:34 PM

Rangers at Mariners: game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Texas Rangers (12-9-2):

5 Ian Kinsler 2B
28 Kevin Mench LF
10 Michael Young SS
9 Hank Blalock (L) 3B
21 Milton Bradley (S) DH
22 Marlon Byrd RF
29 Jason Botts (S) 1B
7 David Murphy (L) CF
15 Gerald Laird C
64 Eric Hurley RHP

Additional Pitchers:
36 C.J. Wilson LHP
45 Jamey Wright RHP
53 Joaquin Benoit RHP
58 Wes Littleton RHP
59 Josh Rupe RHP

Mariners (9-12-2):

51 Ichiro Suzuki (L) CF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
28 Raul Ibaez (L) RF
44 Richie Sexson DH
29 Adrian Beltre 3B
10 Greg Norton (S) 1B
12 Mike Morse RF
15 Jamie Burke C
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
31 Ryan Feierabend LHP

Additional Pitchers:

33 Chris Reitsma RHP
48 Roy Corcoran RHP
49 Jake Woods LHP
53 Arthur Rhodes LHP
59 Eric O'Flaherty LHP

3:42 p.m.: Arthur Rhodes gave up a one-out double in the eighth to Ramon Vazquez. Remember Vazquez? He's the guy who took J.J. Putz deep last July in Texas to end the closer's scoreless innings streak. Rhodes came back strong, fanning Nelson Cruz and South Kitsap H.S. grad Jason Ellison, his fastball reaching 91 m.p.h. on the radar gun.

3:31 p.m.: Chris Reitsma got through a perfect sixth inning, but allowed a run in the seventh to make it 8-5 for the Rangers. Reitsma wasn't helped any by shortstop Miguel Cairo failing to track down a pop up to shallow right field. That helped prolong the inning and the Rangers came through with the hit that delivered the run. So, Reitsma has yet to get out of a stint unscathed this spring, but the two innings he just threw were an indicator to the team that he can go a little longer if needed.

Arthur Rhodes is now on the mound to start the eighth. Got a nice round of applause from the fans when he was introduced.

2:56 p.m.: Seattle got a run back in the bottom of the fifth after a single by Adrian Beltre and a walk by Greg Norton -- who has reached base all three times up today. Mike Morse, celebrating his 26th birthday today, then stroked a nice double to center. Beltre scored easily, but had slowed up a bit on the bases, waiting for the ball to hit the ground. The result was that Norton had to slow up as well and was on Beltre's heels coming around third. While Beltre made it, Norton was thrown out by a wide margin. M's still trail 7-5 heading into the sixth. Chris Reitsma is now on the mound. Big outing for him.

2:40 p.m.: Ryan Feirabend gave up a run in the fourth on doubles by Marlon Byrd and David Murphy, but left with a one-run lead. Jake Woods came on in the fifth and promptly gave that up, yielding four consecutive singles to center to fall behind 5-4. Got two outs after that, then yielded a two-run double to right center by Jason Botts. So, it's now a 7-4 game, M's trailing. To answer some questions about Woods, no he is not going to make this team. Hope that clears things up.

By the way, I've posted some fun video of J.J. Putz pitching in today's minor league game. It's in a new post, so you have to go back to the index and click on it. But I'm going to keep updating this post as the game continues, so please, keep commenting on this one for all of the game/player/team stuff. Feel free to leave comments about the video on the video post, though. Confused yet?

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2:00 p.m.: Ryan Feierabend just earned the crowd's respect by staying in the game after taking a line shot off the knee from mike Young. Feierabend writhed around on the ground in pain for several moments while teammates, manager John Mclaren and trainer Rick Griffin gathered around. But he shook it off, came back and struck out Hank Blalock to end the inning.

1:55 p.m.: A much better 1-2-3 second inning for Ryan Feierabend, who notched two quick groundouts to third and then fired a third strike past Gerald Laird. Mariners also went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the frame, so it's on to the third.

One of you asked me how Felix Hernandez did in the minor league game today. Well, his linescore won't brighten up any caves. Gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits over six innings, though he did strike 10 guys out. Not sure whether he was taking some of the lower-level guys as seriously as he could have been. But it is the major leagues after all and I'll assume a 21-year-old with a 14-win season as his high point realizes the final week of spring training is probably not a good time to be messing around no matter who he's facing.

But what do I know? I'm sure Hernandez has it all figured out.

Four of the earned runs came in the fifth inning, which began with Bryan LaHair greeting him with a home run. Hernandez did fan the final five batters he faced, including LaHair and Jeff Clement (who went 0-for-3 off him). Does Hernandez look like he's about to hit Cy Young form? Depends on his maturity level and how ready he is to take his game up a notch from what we saw last season. As things now stand, I'm not ready to make a bold statement with the words Cy or Young anywhere close to it. Unless it's to call him a "young'' pitcher, which he still is when it comes to understanding his lethal arsenal of pitches.

1:38 p.m.: That was quite the first inning we just saw. The Rangers went up 2-0 on Ryan Feierabend in the top of the frame, but Seattle then sent 10 men to the plate and scored four times to take a 4-2 lead after one. Lots of encouraging stuff happened in the bottom of the inning. Some aggressive baserunning, situational hitting and capitalizing on opponents' mistakes.

Ichiro led off with a single, stole second, then took third on a Jose Lopez single. Raul Ibanez came up next and lacved a double to right center, scoring Ichiro. A walk by Richie Sexson loaded the bases and Adrian Beltre tied the game with a sacrifice fly to left. Greg Norton then hit a single to right that scored the go-ahead run for Seattle. A throwing error by right fielder Marlon Byrd moved both runners up after that and another would score when Mike Morse ripped a single off the glove of shortstop Mike Young. Seattle could have had even more runs on a Yuniesky Betancourt single to left. Norton held up at third, but didn't see left fielder Kevin Mench bobble the ball until it was too late.

So, a good start by the M's. Feierabend had some trouble on the mound, but got out of the inning with his trademark pickoff move, nabbing Hank Blalock at first base.

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Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:49 PM, Mar 22, 2008

If we are going to buy the "thin air" argument for Bedard's struggles with giving up the HR ball, how do we explain the low HR totals hit by Mariner players. The Mariners have only hit 15 home runs in 21 games. Only 10 of the home runs have been hit by guys who are likely to make the team.

Also outside of Bedard, Mariners pitchers have only given up 10 HRs. Bedard is not the only pitcher who throws a breakingball...something doesn't add up.

Posted by Geoff

1:49 PM, Mar 22, 2008

What is the chance that Feierabend makes the big league roster out of spring training? All of us in his hometown in Ohio, wish him the best of luck!

Posted by byronebyronian

1:50 PM, Mar 22, 2008

I'm gonna go on a limb here and say if they insist on keeping Ibanez in LF then why can't we let Vidro go with his crappy ST avg (I believe it's going to be a repeat of last season) and let Norton and his switchy bat be the everyday DH.

Why not? At least Norton has some pop.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:06 PM, Mar 22, 2008

I am going out on a limb and predict that Reitsma is going to suck today

Posted by AKMarinersFan

3:21 PM, Mar 22, 2008

Ok my prediction was wrong again. Reitsma looked pretty good. But Geoff you have to give Morse a little love!

Posted by Bobby Ayala

3:43 PM, Mar 22, 2008

Damn... Morse is going to finish spring training with a .600 average.

Hopefully he can play enough defense to make the team and be able to contribute.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

4:00 PM, Mar 22, 2008

Does anybody else see a little bit of Edgar in Morse?

Posted by gk91

4:33 PM, Mar 22, 2008

What's your beef with Felix? Or does this just read more sarcastic than it's intended to be?

"But it is the major leagues after all and I'll assume a 21-year-old with a 14-win season as his high point realizes the final week of spring training is probably not a good time to be messing around no matter who he's facing.

But what do I know? I'm sure Hernandez has it all figured out."

He's 21 and been in the majors for 3 years already. I think he has something figured out.

Posted by skiba

8:15 PM, Mar 22, 2008

I see absolutely no Edgar in Mike Morse. Lets all just chill out. He's had a hot bat for the spring but we've seen him in seattle before; he simply isnt that good. He may be a useful piece on the bench but he will not be starting and will be rarely even playing save for some off days for the regulars.

I'd be much happier if they kept Jimmerson and Norton. At least in Jimmerson you have a defensive replacement for Ibanez or Wilkerson late in games that you dont have in Morse. In Norton you have a guy who can pinch hit for Lopez or Yuni late in games.

All this love for Morse is fine cuz he's having a nice spring; but lets not get too far ahead of ourselves.

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