Glendale, Ariz. – Ian Snell pitched a spring-high six innings on Saturday and retired the final 10 batters he faced – not that it mattered to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
They scored three runs off Snell early, then shut out Seattle until Matt Tuiasosopo’s ninth-inning home run, beating the Mariners 3-1 in a game that showed how fragile the Seattle offense may be.
Granted, Ken Griffey Jr. wasn’t in the lineup – there was no designated hitter – nor was Franklin Gutierrez.
Still, with most of the regulars playing, the Mariners managed six hits, two by Ichiro Suzuki, and the team didn’t get a runner into scoring position until the seventh inning.
Snell, in his next-to-last spring start, said he found his off-speed stuff and was happy with the outing overall, while admitting he made a few early mistakes that wound up beating him.
“Some pitches were up and I paid for it. I worked really hard on the curveball and kept that down, and I pounded the guys in,” Snell said.
Asked what he needed to do in his last start, Snell said get to the regular season.
“I’m ready. I feel good now. I could have gone longer. I’m just going to go out and pitch. Stay aggressive and pound the zone and keep my tempo the way it is,” he said. “The results aren’t there but I’ve been working my butt off. I can’t wait for the season to start.”
Snell threw 88 pitches, 57 for strikes.
“He shut them down after the (Andre Ethier) home run,” manager Don Wakamatsu said. “After they got to him a little bit, he came back and pitched well. We’re looking for guys who can get us deep into games, and I think Ian can do that.”
After Ethier’s solo homer in the third, Snell retired his final 10 in order.
Think players don’t hear individual voices in a crowd?
Each inning Saturday as Milton Bradley trotted in from left field to the dugout, a fan near the Seattle dugout would shout encouragement – “Go Bradley!” And each inning, Bradley would look up into the stands, tip his cap at the fan and give him a thumbs up.
“I’m the most popular .270 hitter in baseball,” Bradley said.
Beating the bug
When right-handed rookie Kanekoa Texeira threw 3 scoreless innings against Kansas City this week, it was a case of mind over body as much as solid pitching that impressed the Mariners.
Before the game, Texeira had been fighting the stomach flu and spent much of his morning living close to a porcelain facility. Then he reported for duty and went to the mound in relief.
“I credit Tums and milk of magnesia,” Texeira said. “It’s amazing what you can do when you put something out of your mind, and that’s what I did. It’s what I had to do.”
The 24-year-old has had a spectacular spring – nine appearances, 12 innings pitched and a 0.75 earned-run average A Rule 5 draft selection in December, Texeira must stay on the 25-man roster or be offered back to his original team, the New York Yankees.
Over four minor-league seasons, Texeira is 21-13 with 42 saves and a 2.49 ERA.
Junior one-ups, well, Junior
After contemplating his walkoff grand slam a day earlier, Griffey entertained writers by telling them he’d once hit a walkoff inside-the-park home run – and of course, he was telling the truth.
On Aug. 20, 2001, then-Cincinnati Reds outfielder Griffey hit a long fly to center field against the Cardinals, and the ball, Jim Edmonds and the fence came together in one instant.
Griffey remembers the ball rolling along the rubberized warning track, and said he slid across the plate with the winning run.
There hasn’t been an inside-the-park walk-off home run in the big leagues since.
Right-hander David Pauley was reassigned to minor league camp but told as he was leaving that he would still get a Cactus League start next week, Pauley pitched 15 innings is six appearances, crafting a 3.86 ERA. “He couldn’t have done any more to impress us,” Wakamatsu said. “He gives us a lot of options.” The move leaves 37 players in camp, 30 of them on the 40-man roster. … Little Ball: The Mariners’ offense was stymied from the outset and didn’t get a runner as far as second base until the seventh inning, when Jose Lopez singled and Corey Patterson walked. When Jack Wilson followed with a two-out walk, Seattle had a runner at third – bases loaded! – and sent up pinch-hitter Mike Sweeney. Sweeney flied out to the warning track in left field. … Add walkoff grand slam: There has been only one in Mariners regular-season history, and it was hit on April 13, 1985 by Phil Bradley against Ron Davis and the Minnesota Twins. Trailing 7-4, Seattle won the game, 8-7. … The crowd for the Mariners-Dodgers game was 13,583 – a Cactus League record. … David Aardsma pitched a scoreless inning, striking out one batter.
Mariners host the Cubs in a 1:05 p.m. game today that will be televised on FSN and broadcast on 710 AM. Probable starting pitchers: Ryan Dempster vs. Ryan Rowland-Smith.