Thursday’s Game 1 recap: Mariners 7, Padres 1
Player of the Game: Robinson Cano wasted no time making an impression as he laced the first pitch he saw as a Mariner for a single to center. The $240-million man added a walk in the third as he went 1-for-1 with a walk and run scored.
Stat of the Game: Tom Wilhelmsen threw 13 pitches and 10 were strikes in a quick 1-2-3 seventh inning. Wilhelmsen, who struck out one, struggled with his control in the second half last season. Getting the big right-hander squared away would be a big plus for the bullpen.
Storyline: The Mariners got their Cactus League season off on the right foot with the one-sided win as seven pitchers combined to hold San Diego to five hits with seven strikeouts and just two walks. Add in some timely early hitting – including RBI doubles by Justin Smoak and Dustin Ackley – and there wasn’t much not to like about this one.
Worth noting: Abraham Almonte got the start in the leadoff spot and walked twice in three at-bats and also stole a base. Lloyd McClendon likes the speed Almonte offers and will be giving him a good look this spring as a potential starter in the outfield.
Quote of the Day: “I’m not going to lie. It feels a little different. You look around and all you see is different faces. I’m here now and I had in my mind already that I’m a Mariner and I just can’t wait for the season to start so we can go out and do a pretty good job this year.” – Cano on making his debut in a new uniform.
Next: Right fielder Corey Hart will make his debut Friday as the Mariners take on the Padres for a second straight day in a 12:05 p.m. PT game at Peoria Stadium. Hart signed a one-year deal as a free agent and figures to be a key figure in Seattle’s plans as he returns from a year-long absence following two knee surgeries. Young southpaw James Paxton starts on the mound, with Matt Palmer, Nick Hill, Zach Miner, Carson Smith, Charlie Furbush and Dominic Leone also slated to throw.
Here is today’s boxscore.
Here’s a feature I wrote on Danny Hultzen’s long trek back from rotator cuff surgery.
And here’s today’s notebook with all the news from Mariners camp.