By Kirby Arnold
Ian Snell pitched well for two innings in his spring training debut today, then talked about how refreshing this camp is compared with what he experienced as a Pittsburgh Pirate.
“I’m not used to hearing the crowd quiet instead of yelling at you,” he said. “Afterward you hear fans say you did a good job even though you gave up two runs or whatever.”
He said it wasn’t like that in Bradenton, Fla., where the Pirates train.
“You’d need earmuffs,” Snell said. “It came from your own fans. It’s pretty crazy. But it’s a real good atmosphere here and I’m enjoying it a lot. Here, they want you to stay healthy and give your best. When you give your best, they cheer for you.”
Snell gave up three hits and one earned run in the Mariners’ 7-4 victory over the Padres, throwing 20 strikes among his 29 pitches.
Other items of note at the end of a gorgeous spring training day in Peoria:
—The Mariners got a good look at some of their top prospects today, 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, walked twice and stole a base. 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 (Roger’s son) 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.
—Catcher Rob Johnson was feeling better today after experiencing soreness in his surgically repaired hips following a running drill a few days ago. Johnson may do more running today and, if he feels good, could play in a game by the middle of this week, manager Don 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.
—For those wondering whether Jose Lopez’s heart is in his work at third base, he seemed plenty focused during an intense workout there this morning.
Lopez fielded nearly everything the coaches could hit at him — grounders down the line to his right, hot smashes right at him, bouncers he had to charge and balls to his left that he had to sprint to reach. A couple did get past Lopez, but he gave one indication that he’s into third base. He’d flip his glove into the air and catch it while muttering to himself when he didn’t make a clean play, a little reminiscent of Adrian Beltre, who’d spike his glove to the ground if a ball got past him.