A daily look at the Seattle Mariners in spring training:
Saturday in camp
Restless fans can get edgy about something else, and sportswriters can stop adding up the zeroes. Richie Sexson has a hit.
Sexson got his first hit as a Seattle Mariner on Saturday in the Mariners’ 8-3 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Sexson, a typically poor hitter at spring training, has struggled even more so this month after having not played in almost a year because of a shoulder injury. A ground-out and a strikeout in his first two at-bats Saturday ran his hitless string to 17 at-bats.
On his 18th at-bat, Sexson crushed a pitch from Rangers right-hander Bryan Buckvich in the sixth inning, hitting a fly high off the center field wall for a double.
“Maybe I’m the only one who hasn’t been concerned about him,” manager Mike Hargrove said. “You don’t do what he’s done for the years he’s done it and all of a sudden stop. He’s 29 years old, he’s a good defensive player and he’s a good offensive player. It just takes some time for things like that to come around. Richie is going to be OK.”
Left-hander Bobby Madritsch worked three hitless innings while walking only one. Designated hitter Raul Ibanez went 3-for-4 and raised his Cactus League average to .500, and Ichiro Suzuki went 2-for-2 and is hitting .500.
Two players fighting for a place on the roster, shortstop Jose Lopez and third baseman Greg Dobbs, also continued to hit the ball. Lopez went 2-for-4 and is batting .389 and Dobbs had a triple, a single and drove in two runs in two at-bats, raising his average to .500. The Mariners are now 2-8.
Today in camp
The game: Mariners vs. Rangers, 12:05 p.m. at Surprise Stadium.
Radio: KOMO (1000 AM).
Of note: Right-hander Ryan Franklin will start for the Mariners and pitch three innings, followed by left-hander George Sherrill and right-handers Scott Atchison and Masao Kida. Right-hander Chris Young will start for the Rangers.
On the trainer’s table
Relief pitcher Eddie Guardado may play catch today to test his pulled right hamstring.
Starting pitcher Joel Pineiro played catch Saturday morning and hopes to throw off the bullpen mound today as he recovers from a sore right shoulder.
Second baseman Bret Boone returned to the lineup after missing three days because of back spasms.
Bundle up, baseball fans. After two days of temperatures in the upper 80s, a cooling trend is on its way. The high today will reach only 81. With, of course, bright sunshine.
They said it
“We knew it would be a different day when Richie Sexson got the double.”
M’s manager Mike Hargrove, after Sexson got his first hit in 18 spring training at-bats.
They did it
The “Bucky Backers” have arrived at spring training. They don’t have a lot to cheer for, with Bucky Jacobsen unable to play because he’s recovering from knee surgery, but they were noisy nonetheless on Saturday.
As Jacobsen walked toward the Mariners’ dugout before the game, a boisterous group of fans bellowed, “Buck-eee! Buck-eee! Buck-eee!”
Kirby Arnold, Herald Writer