Tuesday’s Game 30 recap: Mariners 9, Royals 6
Player of the Game: Right fielder Stefen Romero was 3-for-5 with three RBIs, including a two-run homer in the third inning, as he continued solidifying his spot as a backup outfielder. Romero raised his spring average to .296 – a long climb after an 0-for-16 start – and hit his fourth home run, equaling Brad Miller’s team high. Romero even got his first action of the spring at first base in the late innings and snared a line drive, earning kudos from manager Lloyd McClendon for his play in the infield.
Stat of the Game: Felix Hernandez threw just 67 pitches to get through his five-inning stint in his final start of the spring and said that was plenty to get him tuned up and ready for his Opening Day start on Monday in Anaheim. Hernandez gave up five hits and three runs with no walks and six strikeouts, retiring 11 straight after a rocky first frame.
Storyline: Hernandez originally was slated for six innings, but said he felt fresh and strong and figured that was a perfect time to stop and get ready for the regular season. Hernandez said all his pitches felt great in his final Cactus League outing.
Worth noting: Shortstop Brad Miller continued his red-hot spring with two more doubles and his now hitting ..436 after a 3-for-4 day. Manager Lloyd McClendon still hasn’t pronounced a winner in the shortstop battle with Nick Franklin, but actions often speak louder than words. And Franklin started this game at second base and was shifted to right field for the first time this spring for the final few innings. “We’re just tinkering,” McClendon said.
Quote of the Day: “Now it’s time to start a new season and I’m ready for that.” – Felix Hernandez after his final spring outing.
Next: Right-hander Erasmo Ramirez makes his final spring start as the Mariners face the Rangers on Wednesday in a 12:05 p.m. PT game in Surprise. Ramirez, 23, has posted outstanding numbers (3-0, 0.96 ERA) in five Cactus League outings, but manager Lloyd McClendon wants him to work more on location on pitches when he’s ahead in counts. Ramirez appears ticketed to pitch Seattle’s second game of the regular season in Anaheim. The game will be available live for free on MLB.com’s Gameday Audio as well as on tape delayed at 7 p.m. PT on 710 ESPN Seattle.
Here’s today’s boxscore.
Here’s my story on Randy Wolf requesting his release after http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/sea/veteran-pitcher-randy-wolf-granted-release-by-seattle-mariners?ymd=20140325&content_id=70118124&vkey=news_sea.
Here’s Michael Saunders’ thoughts and favorite memories about Opening Day.
And here’s the rest of the day’s news from camp in my daily notebook.