Thursday’s Game 24 recap: Mariners 3, Cubs 0

ErasmoRamirezPlayer of the Game: Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez got out of a first-and-third jam in the first inning and proceeded to throw six scoreless frames as he continued a strong spring. Ramirez lowered his Cactus League ERA to 0.96 while allowing just four hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He was efficient enough with a 63-pitch outing that he went and threw another 20-25 pitches in the bullpen afterward.

Stat of the Game: There doesn’t appear to be any stopping Robinson Cano this spring as the second baseman went 2-for-3 with a walk to raise his Cactus League average up to .567. Cano extended his hitting streak to eight games with his pair of singles. Dating back to 2006 with the Yankees, Cano has hit .349 (179-for-513) in 175 Spring Training games.

Storyline: Manager Lloyd McClendon said afterward that he’s still not ready to make any pronouncements on who has clinched rotation berths beyond Felix Hernandez, but clearly Ramirez has done everything necessary to win a job and indeed appears on schedule at the moment to pitch the second game of the regular season.

Worth noting: Dustin Ackley went 3-for-4 with a double, raising his spring average to a healthy .457 (21-for-46). The left fielder appears to have more than carried over last year’s strong finish when he led the Mariners with a .304 average after the All-Star break.

Quote of the Day: “My arm feels healthy and that’s why I love it. Just to feel healthy again, not sore like last year. I’m just trying to be positive in my mind and not be crazy. Just stay where I am and not try to do more. Just stay in my routine and throw strikes.”  – Ramirez after his six shutout innings.

Next: Young left-hander James Paxton makes his fifth Cactus League start on Friday in a 7:05 p.m. game against the Padres at Peoria Stadium. Paxton appears to have locked up a rotation berth with a strong spring as he’s put up a 2.08 ERA with three earned runs and 13 hits in 13 innings with just one walk and eight strikeouts. Relievers Zach Miner, Carson Smith and Danny Farquhar are also scheduled to throw one inning apiece in the game, which will be carried live on MLB.TV and ROOT Sports.

Here’s today’s boxscore.

Here’s a story by columnist Barry Bloom on Randy Wolf’s comeback bid with the Mariners.

And here’s my notebook with all the day’s news from camp.

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