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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 26, 2008 3:08 PM

Mariners at Kansas City Royals: game thread

Posted by Geoff Baker

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Before we get on with the game, big news out of Angels camp today. It seems that pitcher Kelvim Escobar has a tear in his shoulder that will likely require season-ending surgery. Escobar is even talking about retirement. A waste of a fine pitcher and potential Cy Young winner down the road. But for Mariners fans, this is indeed huge news. Could anyone see this coming? Well, maybe not the retirement part. But this is a lingering problem he's had dating back to last August when I chatted with him at Safeco Field. I don't know many folks down here who truly expected him to be back in May. That's the thing with arm injuries and pitchers. You just never know how much of a season they are going to mess up until the mess starts happening. Happening big-time for the Angels right now.

Bad day all around for the Angels, with news that Preston Gomez, special assistant to the GM and a longtime figure in baseball, was hit by a pickup truck at a gas station and is in very bad shape in a hospital.

Ryan Feierabend just got optioned out to Class AAA Tacoma. No surprise there. He has to work on becoming a starter.

3:08 p.m.: Just got back with the other reporters from interviewing Erik Bedard, who looked a little perplexed about today's outing. Said he wasn't. But didn't seem in the best of moods. Gave up four runs over six innings. Said he felt no "responsibility'' towards his new team and that he wasn't looking at Monday's opener any different. Didn't know if he threw fewer curveballs this spring. Didn't know if he was going to join the team in Las Vegas, or go on back to Seattle ahead of his start.

He has the next five days to figure it all out. Was this spring impressive? No, it was terrible. Every swing at a pitch he threw seemed to travel 400 feet in the other direction. Let's hope it's the Arizona air, at least in you're an M's fan. I've been writing for days that I believe this to be the case. If I'm wrong, though, wow. Never really thought about this much before today. But Bedard just did not seem to believe the shrugs and the "it doesn't matter'' words he was sending our way. Could be he is starting to feel some pressure.

"I don't know,'' he said, when asked how he turns around the results once the games start to count. "We'll see when the game starts. I'll figure it out as we go.''

We'll know more when the regular season begins. Today, he gave up two homers (the inside-the-parker was a blast), a triple, three doubles and the four runs. If all those extra-base hits start dying on the Safeco Field warning track, everything will be OK. If not...well, like I said, that's why they play the games.

Carlos Triunfel just collected a sacrifice fly to center in the eighth after the M's scored a pair in the seventh as well while we were down talking to Bedard. The Royals got one back in the bottom of the seventh on a Jason Smith home run (his second of the game) off Cha Seung Baek. It's now 8-5 for Seattle, bottom of the eighth.

2:53 p.m.: A great play by Carlos Triunfel to start off the bottom of the sixth. A grounder that appeared headed up the middle struck the second base bag. Triunfel had been ranging to his left, snagged the ball and then fired a cannon blast throw to first base to nab the runner. Very nice for a guy who just turned 18. Erik Bedard then gave up a triple off the wall in center that Willie Bloomquist again couldn't come up with. But Bedard pitched out of it on a couple of groundouts. The first one, to third baseman Mike Morse, saw the M's hopeful do a nice job of snaring the hard shot and then looking the runner back to third.

2:36 p.m.: A 1-2-3 fifth inning for Erik Bedard, not exactly a routine event this spring. Unfortunately for the M's, they also went in order in the sixth. Bedard is still on the mound in the bottom of the sixth. And look who's at shortstop now. Carlos Triunfel.

2:19 p.m.: No home runs allowed by Erik Bedard in the fourth inning, but he did yield a leadoff double to deep center by Bill Butler. He advanced to third on a groundout, then scored on a grounder to the right side by Ross Gload. Mariners still ahead, 5-4.

1:58 p.m.: Jeremy Reed doubled home Richie Sexson in the third inning to make it a 5-3 game. Some hard baserunning by Sexson on that play. It was touch-and-go as to whether the ball was going to be caught, but he read it well. For those keeping track of Bedard's home run numbers, it's now nine long balls given up in 20 innings.

1:44 p.m.: Now that was the Erik Bedard we've seen all spring long. Gave up two homers in the second inning, only one of them actually leaving the park though. A leadoff walk to Billy Butler was followed by a homer to right center by Miguel Olivo. Yes, that Miguel Olivo. After a lineout to center, Jason Smith then hit a flyball that Willie Bloomquist probably should have gotten to. But he didn't. The ball drifted over his head and before you could say "inside the park home run'' Smith was already around the bases. Now a 4-3 game. Bedard will be happy to leave Arizona, I'm sure.

1:32 p.m.: That was the Erik Bedard fans have expected to see all spring. Struck out Joey Gathright and Mark Grudzielanek to lead off the game. Jeremy Reed then had some trouble in left on a Mark Teahen flyball that became a double. But Reed looked good right after that, diving for a sinking liner to left by Jose Guillen and coming up with the catch. A scoreless inning for Bedard. Hasn't happened too often this spring.

1:21 p.m.: A four-spot by the Mariners to open the game up off former M's hurler Gil Meche. Singles by Willie Bloomquist and Jose Lopez (likely the team's No. 2 hitter to open the season) and then a double by Jose Vidro. No joke, a double. Looked like the ball was out when it left his bat. Then it died on the warning track, but since the outfielders had been playing Vidro at womens' softball depth, they couldn't catch up to it and it fell in. Richie Sexson then hit a groundout for one RBI and Brad Wilkerson a sacrifice fly to center. Kenji Johjima then doubled to right and scored when shortstop Tony Pena Jr. let a Jeremy Reed grounder go through his legs.

Speaking of Reed, I keep hearing his name mentioned in several trade rumors. Latest today was that Tampa Bay might be interested. They have some back-end pitching they could shed from their rotation. Remember Edwin Jackson?

Mike Morse added a single that inning, executing a nice hit-and-run with Reed.

So, it's 4-0 with Erik Bedard taking the mound in the first.

Mariners (10-15-2):

16 Willie Bloomquist LF
4 Jose Lopez 2B
3 Joes Vidro (S) DH
44 Richie Sexson 1B
6 Brad Wilkerson (L) RF
2 Kenji Johjima C
8 Jeremy Reed (L) CF
12 Mike Morse 3B
5 Yuniesky Betancourt SS
45 Erik Bedard LHP

Kansas City Royals (15-11):

2 Joey Gathright CF
15 Mark Grudzielanek 2B
24 Mark Teahen LF
11 Jose Guillen RF
16 Billy Butler DH
21 Miguel Olivo C
7 Ross Gload 1B
26 Jason Smith 3B
1 Tony Pena, Jr. SS
55 Gil Meche RHP

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Posted by Frankie

12:58 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Great news, Geoff. You just made my day!

Posted by markus

1:01 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Your pick is looking better all the time. I'm hoping you are right, but I'm still afraid to dream.

Cut Cairo!! Free Morse and the kids!!

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:11 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Willie in CF and Reed in LF....more head scratching. I guess Willie has more veteraness so we need in CF?

Posted by jujay

1:14 PM, Mar 26, 2008

great start

Posted by Snowbound

1:16 PM, Mar 26, 2008

AK... more like Willie will be the backup CF for the big club and Reed will be in Tacoma, so give the guy that's going to be asked to play there occasionally the time in ST.

Posted by Transient Gadfly

1:16 PM, Mar 26, 2008

On the other hand, that Jon Garland pickup which looked pointless three months ago is looking more and more prescient.

Posted by Lance

1:17 PM, Mar 26, 2008

I thought this was funny.

In yesterday's season opening box score, The Seattle Times had Ichiro catching for the Oakland A's (of course, it was Kurt Suzuki).

Posted by Chris from Bothell

1:17 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Poor guy.

But I'll say it again: true contenders are better than the margin of error. If the Ms get into the playoffs I'll be happy, of course. It won't be quite the same if the difference-maker was because the Angels couldn't put their best team on the field.

Posted by Adam

1:18 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Ok - I'll admit it:

On paper, we are now the favorites in the AL West.

But don't discount the Angels, and look out for the A's. I've got a feeling about them.

But yes, the Angels without Escobar for the year makes us the favorites.

Posted by Jared

1:27 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Definatly big news! I don't like to see a pitcher go down like that especially if it causes him to contemplate retiring. But the door just got a lot bigger us. Been hearing a lot more analysts picking the Mariners as the days go on. Opening day tickets just got delivered to my house an hr ago!!! Can't wait!

Posted by Lance

1:28 PM, Mar 26, 2008

It'll probably get worse for the Angels, too. Garland is an average pitcher. He's certainly no star. Greatly overhyped. The Chisox made out like bandits in that deal.

Hey, with Lopez hitting 2nd and Vidro 3rd M's score four in the top of the 1st. And, that's without Ichiro. Ichiro-Lopez-Vidro-Ibanez is the correct top four for this team's batting order. Mac needs to stick with it.

Posted by Zach C

1:30 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Everyone take note... adam has seen the light, I knew this would happen eventually...yippie

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:38 PM, Mar 26, 2008

"but since the outfielders had been playing Vidro at womens' softball depth"

That was funny, although I have played with a couple of women that could hit the ball farther than Vidro.

Posted by Get Griffey

1:43 PM, Mar 26, 2008

First, sorry for posting this here but I donít think it was working when I tried posting it on the other thread.

OK to Myk

Good God!! If you think that the Mís winning the West this season even comes close to that the US team did to the USSR then you indeed have a bleak view of the season (and probably should look in a sport history book, maybe learn a little about hockey too) because there is no possible way anyone can compare what we did that day to any success the Mís have this year.

Even if we win it all we would not match the miracle that was that game.

I am saying this because you are comparing the people saying M's wonít win this year to the people who said the US team would not win, like the two achievements would be equally unlikely to happen, which is the worst comparison I have ever heard.

I mean Good God Man you would have to compare people predicting the Tacoma Rainers (if they were hypothetically eligible) will not win the WS to make a valid comparison!!

Posted by BavasiRocks

1:44 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Yes, watch out for the A's. They'll be good, but down the stretch they'll falter because they lack veterans. They have a good club though.

As for the Angels, they just dropped their stranglehold on first place. Moseley or Adenhart just can't replace Escobar in the rotation. Matthews is hurt, Vlady has back problems, Anderson always goes on the DL, Shields is out for a couple of months, and Lackey will be out to start the year. We might as well be playing the Salt Lake City Bees!

Posted by shortbus

1:49 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Vidro's lucky it wasn't "girl's softball depth" with the number of hits he got from dribblers last year. I think it was McLaren who expected Vidro to hit more doubles this year, and ground into fewer double plays (a category he nearly led the league in). Wishful thinking abounds!

Posted by Zach C

1:52 PM, Mar 26, 2008

I agree about the As. If harden is healthy all season, hes got the cy young hands down stuff in the league. they could sneak up on people

mel better get this rotation on track- too many runs even for spring training

Posted by Get Griffey

1:55 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Run Richie Run!!

Posted by AKMarinersFan

1:57 PM, Mar 26, 2008

There's are backup centerfielder....Luckily Ichiro can play every game.

Posted by ethan

2:01 PM, Mar 26, 2008

so the Angels plug in some new pitcher. they can still score 8 more runs than us. and Mike Scioscia is the best skipper in baseball at keeping a team focused.

OFF TOPIC...were there really advertisements on the SOX and A'S uniforms??? i always thought the fall of our country would come in a different form..say, relying on mercenaries to fight a protracted neo-colonial imperialist police action in the Middle East.

Posted by Adam

2:04 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Reed for JP Howell. Looks like Jackson is going to be the Rays' fifth starter. I doubt they'll give him up. But Howell would be nice.

Posted by Adam

2:06 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Everyone take note... adam has seen the light, I knew this would happen eventually...yippie

Yep, all it took was the Angels' top two starters to miss 55 starts. No biggie...

Posted by steve

2:10 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Good lordy. Six days out, this guy's gotta settle down. Otherwise, he's gotten 'jack', rather that 'ace'. Meanwhile, Jones
went 2/4. C'mon Bedard, we're pulling for you.

Other obnoxious opinions:

*Unless that moolah's guaranteed.

Posted by Patrick from Kent

2:33 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Well lets hope the M's dont play the D-backs in the Series...otherwise Bedard is useless...

Posted by reality3

2:38 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Another ridiculous call is sending Reed back to Tacoma! Unbelievable if they do that.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

2:40 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Of course everyone on the Angels team has just crushed the ball during spring training and the Mariners...well...a couple of guys who will evither get cut or sit on the bench have done pretty well...

The Mariners hitters are used to "thicker" air so when they get to seattle watch out...

Posted by scrapiron

2:40 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Reed would have already been sent to Tacoma, but they are showcasing him as trade bait now. The Padres are interested, but want to see him in center field, that's probably why he's playing there today. I still think the Rays have the most to offer if they are indeed interested in Jeremy. How about Reed and Baek for Edwin Jackson.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

2:41 PM, Mar 26, 2008

It certainly is a competitive race on paper now. Impact news for the Angels especially in light of Nick Adenhart their top pitching prospect not looking ready for a rush to the big leagues to replace Escobar. Moseley is a step down for them. Unfortunately for us, Garland and Weaver are good and the fact Lackey will be back in May gives us only a month to take advantage of them.

I would also note that Silva and Bedard come in as question marks, with Batista looking suspect in spring training. So let's not raise that division banner just yet.

Posted by reality3

2:44 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Mariners put Reed in left today. Padres reportedly signed Justin Huber from the Royals today. I don't know what is going on, but clearly he is a major league outfielder and any notion of him playing in the minors is absurd. Morse and Reed are the future for the M's, not Cairo, Notron and Wilkerson.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

2:48 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Reed is a career 4th outfielder. He won't hit for average, he's slow terrible base stealer, line drive gap hitter, plus defender. Dime a dozen.

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

2:49 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Felix should start opening day.

Posted by HelpFelix

2:56 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Edwin Jackson's got some pretty nasty stuff! I'd trade Reed for Jackson straight up in a HEARTBEAT!

I watched Edwin Jackson last year a lot, and I'm telling you the guy is gonna be a stud!

Reed is blocked, and NO WAY will ever make this team as a starter with Ichiro in the lineup! You can't have 2 non-power OFers starting for your team.

Posted by Tacoma Rain

2:57 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Oh no, no, no, no....
Bedard, our ace, starts the first game, and the M's are GUARANTEED to WIN the WEST!!!!
No going back now.
The die is cast. FOREVER, FOREVER, FOREVER....

Posted by Adam

3:02 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Morse and Reed are the future for the M's,

No, they are not.

Posted by AKMarinersFan

3:07 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Geoff - great commentary today. I appreciate it.

Posted by Beady Eye Guy

3:20 PM, Mar 26, 2008


Nobody said Norton was the "future" but he is among the elite pinch hitters in the game, he's a good contact switch hitter who would help this team much more than the boopsy twins, Cairo and Willie.

Norton is also solid insurance for Richie should the guy fail us again. If the M's understood roster construction the bench would be 5 men deep and feature:

Reed/Jimerson/some other guy we get in a trade or sign as a FA

If they are smart and Vidro stinks up the joint as many of us expect him to, Norton/Morse can DH unless they wake up and take Raul out of LF and move him to DH. THEN we can call up Wlad to play RF and move Wilkerson to LF.

If Lopez doesn't hit, he HAS TO field brilliantly to be of any value. He's a decent fielder when his head is screwed on right otherwise we can always look at Chen or Hulett for the position. They aren't worldbeaters but either could be an upgrade or catch some luck and hit well when needed.

Also, I am far from worried about Bedard. His history shows he is a slow starter. Silva worries me. Batista does not as he's the 5th starter and better back of the rotation types tend to give up 4 runs a game like Miggie did last night. If he keeps us in games, he's doing his job.

BP wise, Mac did the right thing by announcing Reitsma and Rhodes aren't coming north. THAT is a relief as I feel Reitsma is done and Rhodes needs to prove he can still bring it.

Posted by DR

3:35 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Geoff, what did Bedard mean when he said he felt "no responsibility" to the team? Am I reading too much into what he said or was he just blowing off steam?

Posted by Adam

3:37 PM, Mar 26, 2008

THe problem with Bedard's spring is that he's a ground-ball pitcher. So giving up a bunch of flyballs isn't a good thing, no matter how you want to spin it.

Posted by E

4:11 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Geoff, the true question of the day is this:

Is your man-crush for Escobar still intact?

Thanks for all the great work!! I just about died with the "women's softball" comment.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

4:28 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Remind me: how does the air in Arizona compare to the air in Texas? Or the air in Anaheim or Oakland in early August? Is this "it's air thing" going to hold up when we play so many games down south? And as AKMFan noted, if the Ms hitters aren't launching them in this special magical Arizona air, how far will they be able to hit up here?

Anyway, Patrick from Kent has it right: heaven forbid Bedard has to face the Diamondbacks in interleague play or the World Series. :)

Posted by M's in SF

4:40 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Anyone know who is and isn't playing in SF tomorrow?

Posted by Lola

10:28 PM, Mar 26, 2008

Could we get the entire "responsibility" Bedard quote? I feel I must be reading it wrong, because to me, it is his responsibility... it's what he is being paid the big bucks for. But like I said, I don't think that is actually what he was going for...

Posted by SoCal Mariner

1:50 PM, Mar 27, 2008

Thanks for posting the Bedard "interview." If this guy is that surly in a spring training post-game, imagine what he'll be like when he gets shelled in his first pennant race. It's nice to know that he feels no responsibility to the team as its ace. Seems like a real class act. Geoff, can you check with the writers in Baltimore and see if he was this much of a pain for them? Is he an ass to his teammates? Is he just shy? Based on what I've heard, I can't believe management would pursue this guy as the pitching face of the franchise...I don't care how good his stuff is. It could be a long two years...officially worried

Posted by DALE

1:49 PM, Mar 28, 2008

Why don't they keep Mike Morse on as the DH. He is the best hitter on the team.

Posted by sam

10:01 PM, Aug 03, 2008

Very good article. I am sure that I have never read this before.

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