Other than avoiding an injury, the only thing that mattered, really, to the Mariners in their spring finale Saturday was whether Yovani Gallardo and Ariel Miranda could deliver encouraging outings.
Check and check. (And no injuries, either.)
The footnote is the Mariners held on for a 1-1 tie against Colorado when when center fielder Austin Grebeck made a diving two-out catch with a runner at third base in the ninth inning.
Grebeck, 22, was the Mariners’ 21st-round pick in last year’s draft and is likely to open the season in extended spring training before joining a short-season club in June.
“I was really happy with the way Gallardo threw,” manager Scott Servais said. “We talked about him going out and using all of his pitches. He did that today. Miranda had much better rhythm, better tempo. Just get it and go.”
Gallardo finished his spring with three scoreless innings. His next outing with be April 7 against the Angels in the start to a three-game series at Anaheim.
Neither club scored until Nolan Arenado pulled a one-out homer in the fourth inning against Miranda. The big fly caromed off the roof of the Mariners’ bullpen in the left-field corner.
That was Colorado’s only run. Miranda gave up only two other hits in five innings while striking out five and walking one. He will start Thursday in place of injured Drew Smyly against the Astros.
The Mariners pulled even on Kyle Petty’s RBI single in the seventh inning. That’s how it ended, thanks to Grebeck’s catch.
The Mariners concluded their spring with three straight ties for a 19-14-3 record. Now it’s on to Houston, where they open the regular season Monday with the start of a four-game series against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
“I wouldn’t give it an A-plus,” Servais said, “but overall, outside side of the (Drew) Smyly issue, everybody got through here healthy. I like the look of our bullpen.
“Our starting rotation will be fine, and I’ve liked our offense from day one.”
PLAY OF THE GAME: Grebeck’s catch preserved the tie. Beyond that, Gallardo started a pitcher-second-first (1-4-3) double play that ended the second inning by snagging Stephen Cardullo’s sharp hopper with runners at first and second.
PLUS: Guillermo Heredia beat out a routine grounder to short for a single in the fifth inning…Carlos Ruiz threw out two runners attempting to steal second base…reliever Dan Altavilla finished the spring with eight scoreless outings covering eight innings.
MINUS: Leonys Martin and Taylor Motter were thrown out stealing by Tony Wolters…second baseman Robinson Cano was hitless in two at-bats and finished the spring at .233 (7-for-30)…first baseman Danny Valencia grounded into a double play in his only at-bat and finished at .217 (15-for-69).
STAT PACK: The Mariners drew 135,401 for their 18 home games at Peoria Stadium for an average of 7,522 at facility, which seats 12,518 (including lawn seating). That represents a decline from 2016, when they drew 150,846 for an average of 8,380 for 18 games.
QUOTABLE: Servais said Saturday’s lineup is likely to be the one he uses Monday in the season opener: Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger, Cano, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager, Valencia, Martin, Mike Zunino and Jarrod Dyson.
“I really like the way Jean Segura has swung the bat,” Servais said. “Obviously, he’s very comfortable hitting leadoff. The original plan was Dyson, but Dyson hasn’t played a ton in the last 10 days.
“I think having Leonys and Dyson near the bottom, they can still create havoc and do what they need to do when they get on base.”
SHORT HOPS: Right-handed reliever Shae Simmons, who is battling a strained muscle in his forearm, is expected to begin playing catch Wednesday or Thursday. He last pitched on March 11…veteran infielder Gordon Beckham, signed Friday to a minor-league deal, traveled with the big-league club as a backup. He will open the season at Triple-A Tacoma.
LOOKING BACK: It was 16 years ago Sunday — April 2, 2001 — that Ichiro Suzuki collected his first major-league hit with a leadoff single in the seventh inning against Oakland’s T.J. Mathews. Suzuki, now 43, enters this season with 3,030 career hits, including 2,533 in his 11-plus seasons with the Mariners. He returns later this month to Safeco Field when Miami visits for a three-game series from April 17-19. The final game of the series includes a Suzuki bobblehead doll giveaway.
UP NEXT: The Mariners headed to the airport after the game to catch a flight to Houston, where they open the regular season at 5:10 p.m. Monday at Minute Maid Park.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez (11-8 with a 3.82 ERA in 2016) will make his ninth straight start on opening day and face Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel (9-12, 4.55).
The matchup opens a four-game series and can be seen on Root Sports Northwest and heard on 710 ESPN and the Mariners Radio Network. It can also be heard on mariners.com.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: One.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners