Saturday’s Game 20 recap: Giants 13, Mariners 6

Almonte, AbrahamPlayer of the Game: Center fielder Abraham Almonte broke out of his spring slump with a 2-for-3 day that included a leadoff home run in the third inning and a base hit in the fourth. Almonte has intrigued manager Lloyd McClendon with his speed and power potential, but is still batting just .167 on the spring after coming into the game hitting 4-for-33. If Almonte is going to win the starting job and leadoff role, he’ll need to produce at the plate and Saturday was a positive step.

Stat of the Game: The Mariners committed four errors, had three wild pitches and a balk in one of their sloppier outings of the spring.

Storyline: With Hisashi Iwakuma and Taijuan Walker hurting, the Mariners need James Paxton to step up and he’s been strong all spring. The lanky lefty didn’t have his best stuff Saturday, however, and had to scramble out of some early-inning messes to last four innings while throwing 75 pitches. He still wound up allowing just two earned runs and struck out four, putting his spring ERA at 2.13 with two Cactus League outings remaining.

Worth noting: Logan Morrison saw his first action of the spring in the outfield, playing an uneventful five innings in right field while going 1-for-3 with an RBI single at the plate. If Morrison can play some in the outfield, that will allow Corey Hart more time at DH if he has any trouble with his knees.

Quote of the Day: “Yeah, because he knew he was wrong. It was a strike. I looked at the video and it was right there in the middle [of the plate].”  – Closer Fernando Rodney on whether he thought homeplate umpire Adam Hamari had a quick hook after tossing him in the middle of the fifth inning after he questioned a call while pitching to Tyler Colvin.

Next: Roenis Elias, a 25-year-old southpaw who pitched Double-A ball last year, will get his first chance to start a Cactus League game as the Mariners travel to Tempe for a 1:10 p.m. PT game with the Angels. Elias, a non-roster invitee, is emerging as a starting candidate with a strong spring (2-0, 1.23 ERA in 7 1/3 innings over three relief appearances). He’ll throw about five innings or 75 pitches in the game, which is available live on Gameday Audio and 710 ESPN Seattle radio. Veteran Scott Baker, originally slated for the start, instead will pitch in a Minor League game in Peoria after having already faced the Angels twice this spring.

Here’s today’s boxscore.

Here’s a story explaining Robinson Cano’s absence from camp.

Here’s the story on Rodney’s ejection.

And here’s my notebook on the rest of the day’s news from camp, including a look at Elias’ emergence as a starting contender.

4 Comments

The real outfielder is Michael Saunders, who leads with 10 RBI. He deserves more press!

Saunders has had plenty of press over the past few years, yet he always disappoints when the season starts! Personally I am done with him, I can only hope he proves me wrong, but I don’t think he will! I think he falls in to the “4A” classification, too good for AAA and not good enough for MLB! I would LOVE to see the M’s convert the bat of Nick Franklin to the outfield! Is this a possibility? Hoping for a response to this question!

Anything is possible and Franklin did play a little left field as a youngster, but at this point they’re very much committed to giving him every opportunity at shortstop. And he’s looked good there this spring. The thing I always try to remember is that things happen during the course of a season. What looks like the starting lineup on Opening Day rarely stays the same for a full 162 games. Whoever wins the job could struggle, or get hurt. Or somebody at another infield position could struggle or get hurt. You want and need depth and options in every organization.

Why have the Mariners not signed Morales. They need another bat, he is a switch hitter, he led the team last year in home runs and rbi’s, they don’t have to give up draft pick. Cano needs protection and he is a veteran presense, This should be a no brainer.

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