Monday, March 28, 2005

Felix Falters 

Felix Hernandez got roughed up for the first time, giving up 6 runs while unable to finish his third inning of work, but the M's still beat the White Sox, 15-9.

Felix will supposedly get the final start of the Spring for the Mariners on Saturday against the Cubs in Las Vegas. Coach Hargrove says that the chances of Felix breaking camp with the Mariners is remote, but "he's still in the mix." I'd love to be a fly on the wall for conversations between Hargrove and Bavasi about Felix.

The good news for the Mariners is that Matt Thornton arrived to bail Felix out of the third inning, and collected the win with 2 1/3 innings of solid relief with, get this, no walks. That, combined with Scott Atchison's elbow pain, may be enough to squeeze Thornton onto the roster in April. The bad news for Atchison, is that the M's need a roster spot to accomodate at least Aaron Sele and possibly Jeff Nelson, and they may find this spot by putting Atchison on the 60-day DL. The good news on Atchison is that his MRI showed no damage, and that he might be throwing again by the end of April. Rafael Soriano (reasonable) and Bucky Jacobsen (NO!) are also mentioned as candidates for the 60-day DL.

And, oh yeah, Ichiro is good. He is hitting a ridiculous .518 this Spring. This is going to be the year that Ichiro breaks .400, I tell you. He has hit in 16 consecutive games this Spring. He ended 2004 with 13 consecutive games. Will we see Joe DiMaggio's magic number of 56 straight games threatened? Sure would be fun if Ichiro could run off a big hit streak to start the season, just to hear sportswriters debate whether or not last year's 13 games should count toward the current streak.

Middle infielders are being purged. Mickey Lopez was sold to the Giants for cash, and he will get to play for the Giants AAA Fresno team. Benji Gil and Ricky Gutierrez have both been told that they will not make the club, so they will begin searching for a new gig. Jose Lopez was sent down to Tacoma, and Pokey Reese celebrated by leaving yesterday's game with a sore shoulder.

With all of the ailments that hinder Pokey, I sure hope that Mr. Lopez starts hot in Tacoma, and gets back to Seattle quickly. (For many diatribes against the cutting of Jose Lopez, go here). I don't want to see as much of Willie Bloomquist at short as I'm afraid I will with Pokey's ability to be hurt, tired, or just feelin' yucky 3 days out of every 7. One thought is that hot hitting (another triple yesterday) Ramon Santiago might slip into the backup spot, which at least would be a defensive improvement over Willie.

Finally, we'll end with a last bit of good news, is that the Mariners got Rule V pick Ryan Rowland Smith back from the Twins today. The Twins couldn't keep the pitcher on their 25 man roster, and the M's were unwilling to make a deal. Smith will work to build on his 5-3, 3.79 ERA at Class A Inland Empire last year.

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