And they’re off and running …
Ichiro Suzuki talks to Jack Cust during Friday’s intrasquad game. (Photo by Greg Johns/MLB.com)
The Mariners got things going on Friday with their only intrasquad game of the spring. And, yeah, we saw some things you’d expect. Like Ichiro getting a pair of hits on a single through the hole at shortstop off Blake Beavan and an infield shot off Josh Lueke’s glove.
There was also the predictable wildness of youngsters Lueke and Dan Cortes, who were amped up in their spring debuts. And there was some unexpected base-running aggression with Milton Bradley and Michael Saunders each stealing two bases and catcher Miguel Olivo swiping third after hitting a double off Lueke.
Saunders and Bradley both got caught stealing once each as well, something Eric Wedge said he could live with as long as players were smart about when to take chances.
“You can’t have it both ways,” he noted. “Guys aren’t going to be perfect.”
Nobody hit one over the fence at the Mariners main practice field, though Matt Tuiasosopo and Johermyn Chavez both drove balls to the warning track in the deepest part of center field.
Justin Smoak, Luis Rodriguez, Adam Moore and Olivo all doubled as the Mariners totaled 10 hits in the five-inning game.
Starters Michael Pineda and Blake Beavan both looked good in their one inning of work, with Beavan striking out two. Tom Wilhelmsen also finished things off with a pair of strikeouts in the fifth.
Besides Cortes and Lueke, the other pitcher who struggled was 24-year-old lefty Edward Paredes, who gave up a number of well-hit balls, including Moore’s run-scoring double and sharp singles by Bradley and Jody Gerut, as well as Tuiasosopo’s deep shot that got hauled in at the wall by Gabe Gross.
Nothing spectacular, just a necessary first step on the way toward Sunday’s Spring Training debut. Wedge said the pitching rotation for the first few games will be announced on Saturday and he’s still penciling out the lineup as well, wanting to talk to a few more of the veterans about how much they like to play in the early going.
So we’ll see how things roll soon enough. In the meantime, I talked to DH Jack Cust this morning about his outfield play, which is something that raised some hoots and hollers from his teammates during drills earlier this week.
Cust has a pretty good arm in left field and says he can play the position, though admits he’s not quite on par with Gold Glovers like Gutierrez and Ichiro. He’s a fun guy and I enjoyed that story, which you can read here.
And as living proof, I got a picture of Cust with his glove this morning. He really does do outfield drills and get himself ready, just in case, even though I doubt we’ll see much of him out there this season.