By Kirby Arnold Herald Writer
The Seattle Mariners used a formula to beat the Texas Rangers 6-3 on Wednesday that they may rely upon a lot this year — pitching, defense and converting their scoring opportunities.
They scored single runs in the first and third innings, moving runners into scoring position with well-placed ground balls before driving them in. Milton Bradley’s RBI ground out in the first scored Ichiro Suzuki, and Suzuki’s sacrifice fly in the third scored Josh Wilson.
Mike Sweeney delivered the biggest hit of the game, a three-run double in the Mariners’ four-run fifth. He went 2-for-3 with two doubles off Rangers right-hander Neftali Feliz, whose fastball reached 99 mph.
Sweeney is batting .769 and, so far, doing everything he can to force his way onto a fairly well-set Mariners roster.
“Come Easter Sunday, I cold be here as a Seattle Mariner,” he said. “The second option is playing with another major league team. Or I could go home to my beautiful wife and family. I’m in a win-win-win situation. We’ll see how the Good Lord unfolds things over the next four weeks.”
How to retire, as told by Griffey
The TVs in the Mariners’ clubhouse were tuned to the MLB Network, which carried Nomar Garciaparra’s retirement news conference Wednesday morning.
Quite a few Mariners watched with interest, including Ken Griffey Jr., who sat atop the big trunk at his locker. As you’d expect, Griffey had his own perspective on retirement and, precisely, how he’d handle his own announcement when that day comes.
“Not gonna be a press conference,” he said. “Not even gonna phone it in. I’ll just send out a fax, and it’ll say, ‘He gone!’ That’s all, ‘He gone!’” Cut day
The Mariners cut eight players from their big-league camp Wednesday, including left-handed pitcher Ryan Feierabend and right-hander Josh Fields, a former first-round draft pick.
Feierabend, who had Tommy John elbow surgery 13 months ago, was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma. He pitched two scoreless innings Monday against the White Sox,
Fields and right-hander Steven Shell, along with left-handers Nick Hill, Chris Seddon and Mauricio Robles, were re-assigned to the minor-league camp along with two catchers, Luis Oliveros and Steven Baron.
Baron, selected 33rd overall in the June draft, was the youngest player in the big-league camp, having turned 19 in December.
The moves leave 55 players in the major league camp, with another round of cuts that could happen as early as today.
Today in camp
It’s the Mariners vs. the Giants and What Might Have Been (Tim Lincecum) at 12:05 p.m. (PST) at Scottsdale. Again, no radio. Right-hander Ian Snell will start for the Mariners against Lincecum, who many Mariners fans see as the guy who got away in the 2006 draft when the M’s took Brandon Morrow.
Mariners left fielder Milton Bradley has told Seattle media that he won’t talk about his experience with the Cubs last year, although he rehashed his differences during an ESPN report that aired Wednesday. Manager Don Wakamatsu’s reaction? “We talk about giving guys the freedom to feel welcome here and be themselves. This is something that will pass. What I care about most is Milton coming in and being in good shape and playing the game and helping us win.” After he came out of Wednesday’s game, Bradley told a Mariners staffer that he wouldn’t talk with the media. … Mariners pitching coach Rick Adair dropped his head and smiled when No. 91 for the Rangers stepped into the batter’s box in the ninth inning Wednesday. It was his son Travis, a 22-year-old minor league infielder in the Texas organization. “I was thinking, ‘Swing the bat.’ I was really nervous,” Rick Adair said. “That was really classy of them to put him in there.” Mariners pitcher Garrett Olson walked Travis Adair. … Pitcher Erik Bedard threw from 120 feet Wednesday and, in Wakamatsu’s words, “looked great.” Wakamatsu didn’t know when Bedard (labrum surgery in left shoulder last August) would pitch off a mound. Going into spring training, the Mariners weren’t sure if Bedard would get on a mound before they broke camp. … Catcher Rob Johnson’s surgically repaired hips felt fine the day after he caught Felix Hernandez’s two-inning simulated game. Wakamatsu said Johnson would catch one of the two games in Tucson on Sunday (against Colorado) or Monday (against Arizona).
Kirby Arnold, The Herald