By Kirby Arnold Herald Writer
PEORIA, Ariz. — The learning process for Ian Snell continued Wednesday night in the Seattle Mariners’ 8-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.
Snell, who figures to be the third or fourth starter in the Mariners’ rotation, allowed six hits and three runs in four innings, striking out five but also allowing two home runs. One was a monster blast by Josh Hamilton deep over the right-center field fence. The other was an opposite-field homer by Nelson Cruz.
“Did that ball from Hamilton come down yet?” Snell asked reporters. “I admired that myself. He’s impressive. The one by Cruz barely got out, and now I can see why they say the ball flies here. I’m learning every day.”
Snell threw 57 pitches and said he used his changeup more as he works to sharpen that pitch.
“I’m not quite there but I’m almost there,” he said. “I’m still going to work hard on my bullpens and my side work. I want to help this team win. I want to help them get to the playoffs.”
Snell was far from the only Mariner who felt the impact of the Rangers’ slugging.
Closer David Aardsma gave up three hits and four runs in 2/3 inning, including a two-run homer to Cruz in the fifth. Brandon League replaced Aardsma but gave up a home run to Chris Davis on the first pitch he threw.
League went on to get the next four outs, two on strikeouts, and Kanekoa Texeira pitched 12/3 hitless innings with three strikeouts. Texeira has a 1.35 earned run average this month and continues to impress manager Don Wakamatsu as a candidate for a middle relief role.
“He’s got what they call a quick arm, and he’s got late action because of that,” Wakamatsu said. “His sinker breaks later in the zone. For a guy who hasn’t pitched at a very high level, he’s pretty impressive maturity-wise.”
Wakamatsu didn’t seem concerned with the home runs, mainly because the Mariners’ pitchers were throwing strikes. And he said Aardsma’s performance didn’t worry him because the right-hander hasn’t gained the sharpness with his split-finger pitch that he’ll eventually have.
Bradley rung up, thumbed out
As Milton Bradley episodes go, his first “moment” of spring training was barely a blip on the rage-o-meter.
The Mariners’ left fielder was ejected in the third inning Wednesday night after he was called out on strikes by plate umpire Dan Bellino. Bradley stood at the plate and dropped his bat after the third strike but never looked back at Bellino, who quickly tossed him.
Bradley, whose career has been marked by conflict with umpires, teammates and management, has had a calm camp with the Mariners. Even during the ejection, he didn’t say anything.
“I didn’t understand it,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “In all fairness to Milton, I actually thought he thought it was three outs. He started taking his gloves off and his bat dropped, and he picked up his bat and walked off. That’s what I told the umpire, that I didn’t think it was called for and it was an over-reaction on his part.”
Decision due on second, third
Wakamatsu said early in camp that he either would leave Jose Lopez at third base and Chone Figgins at second or swap the two back to their original positions about halfway through the exhibition schedule.
That point, the 16th of 32 games, arrives Friday and Wakamatsu said Wednesday he is holding to that schedule.
“The next couple days, we’ll make that decision,” Wakamatsu said.
Today in camp
The Mariners play the Colorado Rockies at 1:05 p.m. in Peoria. Left-hander Ryan Rowland-Smith will start for the Mariners, who also are expected to pitch right-handers Mark Lowe, Sean White, David Pauley and Chad Cordero. The game won’t air on radio, although it will be televised on Fox Sports Net with the feed from FSN Rocky Mountain (with the Rockies’ announcers).
The Mariners released right-hander Yusmeiro Petit, who’d pitched in three exhibition games this month, working 42/3 innings with a 3.86 ERA. The Mariners had claimed Petit off waivers from the Diamondbacks in November but designated him for assignment Feb. 6 when they signed Erik Bedard, outrighting him to Class AAA Tacoma on Feb. 10. … Left-handed pitcher Garrett Olson was scratched from his scheduled outing Wednesday night when he injured a fingernail during fielding drills during the afternoon. … The Mariners’ minor leaguer teams, who’ve played each other the past two days, will begin their spring schedule today against teams from the Cincinnati Reds’ organization.