Thoughts from Peoria as Mariners make it four straight
Lots to like today for Mariners fans at Peoria Stadium as Erik Bedard backed up his first two impressive starts with another solid outing and young Alex Liddi smoked a grand slam for the second straight day as Seattle won its fourth straight with a 10-5 win over the Angels.
A couple asterisks, as always, in a Cactus League game. The Angels had a split-squad day and didn’t send their “A” team. And Liddi’s blast came against Ryan Chaffee, a 22-year-old prospect who was playing High A ball last season.
But Liddi himself is a 22-year-old who was in Double A last year. He’s looked good this camp, good enough that the Mariners moved Matt Tuiasosopo out of the third-base position and have him focused on first base and left field.
That leaves Liddi as the primary backup to Chone Figgins in most of these spring games, though in the regular season that role likely will fall to Adam Kennedy or Brendan Ryan in a utility role.
Liddi definitely is emerging as one of the up-and-comers to watch, however, and at 6-4, 220, he’s an imposing figure at third base.
Bedard, meanwhile, is more of a factor for this season. A huge factor, indeed, if he continues building on what he’s done so far this spring. The veteran lefty acknowledged Thursday that he feels like he did back in 2006-07 before his shoulder problems began.
And how good was he then?
“He was one of the best left-handers in the league when he was at his best in Baltimore,” said manager Eric Wedge. “The only thing that’s gotten in his way the last couple years were the injuries..He feels good and we’re hoping he can stay there.”
Another guy making a strong case for himself is Ryan Langerhans, who is fighting for the fourth outfield spot. Langerhans ripped a double off the high batter’s eye wall in center field for the second time this week on Thursday. His 2-for-3 day puts him at .375 for the spring.
Gabe Gross, another candidate for that role, has struggled at the plate so far, but emerged Thursday with a two-run home run off starter Matt Palmer.
Jack Wilson, getting his third start this week at second base, didn’t see a lot of action in the field but continued swinging a hot bat with a double and walk in three at-bats. His average stands at a healthy .467.
Brendan Ryan hasn’t hit as well (.158), but in fairness he’s ripped some hard-hit balls right at people and been robbed of hits at least a few times by nice defensive plays. Ryan himself clearly is an excellent shortstop and it’ll be interesting to see how that plays out over the next three weeks.
Now comes Friday and another chance to see big Michael Pineda pitch. The Mariners let it be known today that their official height-weight of the 22-year-old has been amended from an original 6-5, 245 pounds to the now correct 6-7, 260.
Yeah, he’s big. And he’ll be going against the Indians tomorrow at 12:05 p.m. at Goodyear in another opportunity to see just how ready he is to make the jump to the big leagues.