Shortstop Jack Wilson, whose hamstrings are as important to the Mariners’ infield defense as his hands, says he’s fine after a scare on Friday.
Wilson came out of the game after the third inning when he felt tightness in his right hamstring. Given his history of strains and tweaks with his hamstrings, that caused a few folks, including manager Don Wakamatsu, to gulp a little bit.
Saturday, Wilson fielded ground balls during the morning workout and said he would be able to play today’s game, which would keep him in Wakamatsu’s rotation of playing his starters every other day.
“It’s good and getting better,” Wilson said.
If anything, Wilson said the hamstring tightness could have been the result of too much stretching.
“The whole point of this offseason working with a massage therapist was getting the hamstrings loose,” he said. “They’re at a point now where they’re really stretching out and getting loose. They’re kind of irritated, we’ve been stretching so much. I’ve been stretching two to three times a day.
“It was just tightness. With the history I had last year and (the fact) I did get stretched out three or four times yesterday, I was like, ‘All right, maybe we’ve been getting after the stretching (too much) and need to back off and do more massage. I’m being very, very cautious with it.”
It was such a non-issue in Wilson’s mind that when he originally felt the tightness Friday, on a fielding play in the top of the third inning, he stayed in the game in order to get his at-bat in the bottom of the inning. He singled and, wouldn’t you know it, had to sprint all the way home when Ichiro Suzuki tripled.
“It’s not serious at all,” he said. “I wanted to get my at-bat, and I told (first base coach) Lee Tinsley that I wanted to go 80 percent and not do anything stupid (on the bases). Of course, Ichi hits a triple. I didn’t feel it at all running around the bases. I was careful and mindful about it. It’s all good.”
Hurts so good
Not long after he batted against Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez in their simulated game Friday, Mariners minor league infielder Kyle Seager made a few phone calls back home to North Carolina to tell friends and family about it.
It wasn’t just to tell them he faced Hernandez and Lee, but to tell them what happened in the second inning of that game.
“I had to tell them I got plunked by Cliff Lee,” said Seager, almost proud of the mark he still wore on his right arm Saturday.
Lee was fighting his control in the second inning of the simulated game when a fastball tailed too far up and in on Seager. It stung him hard just above his right elbow.
The Mariners got a good look at some of their top prospects Saturday, starting Ezequiel Carrera in center field and Dustin Ackley at second base. Later, third baseman Alex Liddi and outfielder Greg Halman got into the game.
They all made an impression.
Carrera, who won the Southern League batting title with a .337 average at Class AA West Tennessee, went 0-for-1 and walked twice. He struggled in center field, being charged with a throwing error and losing a fly ball in the sun that fell for a double.
Ackley, the second overall pick in the draft last June, went 0-for-4 but started a double play.
Liddi, who tied Koby Clemens for the California League batting title with a .345 average at Class A High Desert, doubled and struck out.
Halman, whose 25 homers at West Tennessee tied for the Southern League lead, tripled in his only at-bat.
Today in camp
The Mariners play the last of their four straight games against the Padres at 12:05 p.m. (PST) on ESPN 710 AM radio. Left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith, who’ll be the fourth or fifth starter this season, will start for the Mariners. Also on the pitching list is left-hander Ryan Feierabend and right-handers Brandon League, Ricky Orta and Levale Speigner. Left-hander Clayton Richard will start for the Padres.
Catcher Rob Johnson was feeling better Saturday after experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired hips following a running drill last week. Johnson may do more running today and, if he feels good, could play in a game by the middle of this week, Wakamatsu said. ... Both Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee felt fine after their simulated game Friday and are on track to pitch in exhibition games this week. Hernandez is scheduled to pitch a two-inning simulated game Tuesday and Lee two or three innings Wednesday against the Texas Rangers. ... Center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who hasn’t played because of a sore right shoulder, is expected to start today’s game against the Padres and also may play in Monday’s split-squad game against the White Sox. ... Ken Griffey Jr. during his follow-through after launching a long fly ball to right field in batting practice: “Look out, Padres!” The San Diego Padres’ main practice field is just beyond the right field fence of the Mariners’ No. 1 field. ... The “Mariner Idol” talent competition among 31 players was pushed back a day to this morning. ... Closer David Aardsma, who felt tightness in his right groin during Thursday’s game, said Saturday he was feeling fine. To prove it, he performed a couple of dance steps just as a KC and the Sunshine Band song played on the clubhouse sound system. Aardsma didn’t wince, although a couple of writers did. ... Mitch Canham, the former Lake Stevens High School star who played on Oregon State’s College World Series champion teams in 2006 and 2007, was a defensive replacement at first base for the Padres in the sixth inning. He went 0-for-2.
Kirby Arnold, The Herald
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