Thursday’s Game 9 recap: Mariners 7, ChiSox 4

Baker, ScottPlayer of the Game: Veteran right-hander Scott Baker had another solid start, going three innings and allowing one run on three hits. Baker, who is coming back from Tommy John surgery in 2012, threw 32 pitches and continued looking like a viable candidate for a rotation berth as a non-roster invitee. The 32-year-old did benefit from three excellent defensive plays behind him – diving catches by right fielder Xavier Avery and center fielder Endy Chavez and a nice backhand stop by shortstop Brad Miller – but he’s a control pitcher who counts on the defense making plays behind him. So far, so good.

Stat of the Game: With Baker’s one run in three frames, Mariners starters have now posted a 1.25 ERA in nine starts this spring (three earned runs in 21 2/3 innings).

Storyline: The Mariners only started three regular position players in this one, so the primary focus was on getting solid efforts from Baker and new closer Fernando Rodney, who made his spring debut. Rodney allowed a run on two hits, but was working on his fastball location and said he felt strong and just needs more games now to get sharp. Seattle won it with five runs in the final three frames with help from some of their young hitters, including an RBI triple by Stephen Romero for his first hit in 17 at-bats this spring.

Worth noting: D.J. Peterson, last year’s first-round Draft pick, got his first hit in a Major League contest with an RBI single in the seventh. Peterson has been in Minor League camp, with the Mariners not wanting to push him too fast after he broke his jaw when hit by a pitch last August. But the young third baseman was given a chance to play Thursday and came through.

Quote of the Day: “I’m still shaking a little bit. It’s awesome being around these big-league guys. I’ve been watching some of these guys for five, six years. I’d be lying if I said I’m not nervous at all.” –Peterson after getting his first hit for the Mariners.

Next: Veteran lefty Randy Wolf makes his second start of the spring when the Mariners host the Reds on Friday at 12:05 p.m. PT at Peoria Stadium as he continues his comeback from Tommy John surgery. Wolf, 37, threw two scoreless innings on Sunday against the Indians in his first game since Oct. 20, 2012. He’s scheduled for three innings, with Logan Kensing, Carson Smith, Dominic Leone, Nick Hill, Yoervis Medina and Ramon Ramirez also slated for one inning apiece.The game will be broadcast live on 710 ESPN Seattle.

Here’s today’s boxscore.

Here’s a feature story I wrote this morning on exciting outfield prospect James Jones, who has caught Lloyd McClendon’s eye with his play this spring.

And here’s a link to the daily notebook, with today’s news from camp.

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