Mariners rookie Pineda impresses Wedge

  • By Kirby Arnold Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, March 16, 2011 12:01am
  • Sports

PEORIA, Ariz. — Seattle Mariners pitching prospect Michael Pineda ran his fastball to the plate at 97 mph. And it sailed back his direction twice that fast Wednesday night in his fourth Cactus League start.

The Milwaukee Brewers caught up with Pineda’s fastball early and often, connecting fo

r six extra-base hits among their seven hits off the 6-foot-7 right-hander in the four innings he worked.

The Brewers won 5-4 when former Mariner Jeremy Reed drove broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the ninth inning with an RBI single off bullpen candidate Fabio Castro.

Pineda threw 63 pitches, 47 of them strikes, and struggled early to keep his fastball down in the strike zone. Manager Eric Wedge was more pleased that Pineda made adjustments to get the fastball down in the zone and he was especially impressed with his slider and changeup.

“He was up a little bit, but more importantly he got back down,” Wedge said. “When you look at the way he was using his secondary stuff, it’s as good as we’ve seen it all spring. He worked through some situations and controlled the damage. That’s what you really need to do and he did a good job of it.”

Pineda’s take?

“Too many strikes,” he said. “A couple of fastballs were a little up. I’m working on getting my fastball down.”

Brewers leadoff hitter Rickie Weeks hit three doubles off Pineda and George Kottaras doubled and tripled off him. Pineda allowed two earned runs, walked one and struck out three.

He was pleased with his slider and said his changeup, a pitch he needs to develop, improved later in his outing.

“I’m working all the time to be better with my changeup because it’s a great pitch,” he said. “My first two changeups weren’t very good. The last three were pretty good. The last two innings, my changeup was a little more in the zone.”

Bradley flips out, tossed out

Milton Bradley had been a cool and collected player throughout spring training, until his second at-bat Wednesday night.

Bradley was called out on strikes in the third inning on a full-count pitch he thought was out of the zone. At first, Bradley started to flip his bat and head toward first base, thinking he’d walked.

Then he turned around and let plate umpire Mark Buchanan have an earful as he walked to the Mariners’ dugout. Buchanan, a Pacific Coast League ump, didn’t respond until Bradley got back to the dugout and continued to vent. Buchanan then ejected him.

Bradley was ejected twice during spring training last year, both times by PCL umpires.

“It’s spring and you’ve got a lot of young umpires out here,” Wedge said. “I think he felt like he took about as much as he could take and it was time to take it to another level.”

Today in camp

Mariners vs. Royals, 6:05 p.m. at Surprise (ESPN 710 AM radio). Right-hander Felix Hernandez will start for the Mariners against left-hander Jeff Francis.

Of note

Jack Wilson started at second base and Brendan Ryan at shortstop Wednesday night as Wedge looks at his middle infield options. They’ll start in the same spots tonight against the Royals, Wedge said. … Closer David Aardsma continues to progress from January surgery on his left hip. He played catch Wednesday for 10 minutes, throwing from 90 feet. … Ryan Langerhans, competing for the fourth outfield job, continued his strong spring with an eighth-inning double that gave him a .409 average. … Third baseman Matt Mangini is suffering again from a bad quad muscle. Mangini, who injured the quad last season at Class AAA Tacoma and didn’t play winter ball because of it, has only 12 spring training at-bats. … Wednesday night’s loss ended an eight-game undefeated streak by the Mariners, who are 10-5-2. … Luke French and David Pauley, among the candidates for the fifth starter job, will pitch today in a minor league intrasquad game.

Read Kirby Arnold’s blog on the Mariners at www.heraldnet.com/marinersblog and follow his Twitter updates on the team at @kirbyarnold.

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