In his sixth season as a Triple-A manager, Daren Brown knows many of his players are frustrated at being in Tacoma – one step away from the major leagues.
“I don’t want them to be happy about it,” Brown said. “You expect them to be a little bit disappointed.”
Count outfielder Carlos Peguero among the unhappy.
One of the last cuts of spring training, Peguero has given Seattle’s front office reason to take notice. The slugger hit his second home run in as many days, leading the Rainiers to an 8-2 win over Salt Lake on Saturday night at Cheney Stadium.
“He’s doing what he needs to do,” Brown said of Peguero. “He’s swinging the bat well.”
During spring training, Peguero made a case to make the Mariners’ 25-man roster, hitting .294 with five home runs and 13 RBI. When Seattle left fielder Mike Carp landed on the disabled list this week, Peguero’s prospects brightened, but the Mariners chose to option him to Tacoma on Wednesday.
“He had a good spring,” Brown said. “He controlled what he can control. The rest was out of his hands.”
Peguero has responded with a massive offensive outburst in the first three games of the season.
In his first at-bat Saturday, Peguero, who went 2-for-3 and scored three runs, crushed an Eric Hurley pitch well over the right field wall – press box estimates had the solo home run traveling 450 feet – that gave Tacoma a 1-0 lead.
“He’s getting some pitches to hit and he’s not missing them,” Brown said.
The rest of the Rainiers’ offense came alive in the third inning when Tacoma erupted for five runs. Catcher Adam Moore provided the inning’s big hit, launching a three-run home run to left field.
Tacoma’s bullpen continued its dominance of Bees hitters. Oliver Perez and Chance Ruffin limited Salt Lake to one run in five innings.
“Our bullpen’s been good,” Brown said. “We need our starters to get us a little deeper in the game, especially early in the year when guys are more limited with a pitch count.”
In his Tacoma debut, Perez, a 30-year-old left-hander with nine years of major league experience, tossed three innings and got the victory. He struck out three and allowed one earned run on three hits and a walk. Perez’s velocity was clocked consistently in the low-90s and hit 93 mph in the fifth inning.
Ruffin, who pitched in 13 games with Seattle last season after being acquired in the trade that sent Doug Fister to Detroit, struck out two and gave up one hit in two innings.
Tacoma chased Bees starter Hurley from the game in the Rainiers’ five-run third inning. Hurley (0-1) lasted 22/3 innings, giving up six earned runs on four hits and two walks.
Salt Lake’s Mike Trout continued to terrorize Tacoma pitching. The highly touted 20-year-old went 2-for-3 with an RBI, run and walk. Trout is batting .538 in three games.
Tacoma ends the four-game series with Salt Lake today. Right-handed pitcher Forrest Snow (0-0) will go against Bees left-hander Brad Mills (0-0) at 1:35 p.m. The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.
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