Note: So I thought I posted this blog way earlier, but apparently something went wrong. My computer is acting very slow and odd. But I guess I will post it now.
Obviously, it's too early to start handicapping the competition for the No.5 starter. Afterall, we're only a week and a half into the Cactus League season. But if we were, you could say that Jason Vargas (above) helped himself out today with his outing.
Vargas pitched 3 2/3 shutout innings, allowing just two hits, facing 13 batters, walking one and striking out one.
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Manager Don Wakamatsu was quite pleased.
“I thought Vargas was outstanding,” Wakamatsu said. “He’s in better shape than last year, his mechanics look a little tighter, he looks confident."
He contrasted that to Doug Fister’s start on Monday, in which he gave up three runs on two hits with a pair of walks.
“Fister got a little bit nervous, and I didn’t see that out of Vargas,” Wakamatsu said.
The even-keeled Vargas was pretty matter of fact about his outing, choosing not to get too worked up over a spring training start.
“I was just throwing strikes and trying not to get behind in counts,” Vargas said.
Sounds simple, but it isn’t always that way.
“Sometimes it can be a challenge,” Vargas said. “But in the spring guys are trying to find their swings and I was just trying to be around the plate and be efficient.”
Part of the reason Vargas was so low-key about the start is trying to maintain perspective about his place on the team, and the competition for the rotation.
“If you are worrying about the big picture, and about what’s going on behind closed doors, and who’s making decision, that just puts added stress on you,” Vargas said.
Franklin Gutierrez had a solid game for the Mariners. After issues with his throwing shoulder, he seems back to normal.
Wakamatsu did tell Gutierrez to take it easy in Tuesday's game. And if there were any close plays in Tuesday’s game not to risk injuring his sore right shoulder any further. Of course, he didn’t really follow instructions that well. After making a catch in the outfield and seeing Shin-Soo Choo had made a base-running mistake, Gutierrez unleashed a hard throw from centerfield trying to double Choo off at first.
The throw was impressive and a dart, but Choo made it back safely.
“I started cringing,” Wakamatsu said. “He threw it well. And he said it was fine. So that’s a good sign.”’
Gutierrez also had two hits in the game, including a two-run triple down the first base line
A few other things ...
Jose Lopez’s adventures at third base continued on Tuesday. With a swirling wind blowing in the stadium, Lopez misplayed an infield pop in foul territory. (pictured above)
The Mariners will make their first round of cuts today to trim the group of 63 players in big league spring training, expect LHP Nick Hill, OF Mike Wilson, LHP Chris Seddon to be among those sent to minor league camp.
Wakamatsu said that David Aardsma, who tweaked his groin, had “a really good bullpen session” on Tuesday.
Nick Franklin, the Mariners’ 27th pick of the 2009 draft, got the start at second base. The 19-year-old struck out twice, but did make a pair of solid fielding plays.