Lefty Drew Smyly prepped for his time with the United States team in the World Baseball Classic by pitching three scoreless innings Monday for the Mariners in a 9-0 romp over Texas at Peoria Stadium.
Smyly worked three scoreless innings while allowing one hit, one walk and striking out three. He threw 29 of 45 pitches for strikes.
"I feel good right now," he said. "I’m just trying to build up. My pitches, I like where they’re at right now. I just want to continue to work on command."
Plans now call for Smyly to work a short simulated game Thursday, about 20 pitches, before joining the USA team in Miami. He will pitch just one game before returning to the Mariners.
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"It’s a little tricky right now," he said. "It’s either going to be the first game of the second round or the tiebreaker game of the first round. I’ll be in Miami for the first round, but I might not pitch until the second round."
Smyly’s strong outing against the Rangers followed two shutout innings against the Reds in his first spring start. This time, he had plenty of support. The Mariners led 6-0 when Max Povse replaced Smyly in the fourth inning.
Mike Zunino opened the scoring with a towering leadoff homer to left field in the second inning. He crushed a fifth straight fastball from Texas starter A.J. Griffin.
"It was just nice to get a pitch and barrel it up," Zunino said. "I think it helped the wind was blowing that way, too."
The Mariners (7-4) then scored five runs in the third inning. Dan Vogelbach contributed an RBI on a bloop single before Zunino delivered a two-run double. Taylor Motter followed with a two-run homer.
An error by Texas first baseman James Loney helped the Mariners score two more runs in the fifth for an 8-0 lead.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Vogelbach showed some wheels in scoring from first base on Zunino’s two-run double to left in the Mariners’ five-run third inning.
PLUS: Zunino had a no-doubt homer and a double in three at-bats. He also had a walk…Mitch Haniger and Kyle Seager each reached base three times in four plate appearances…reliever Jean Machi got three ground-ball outs in a one-two-three eighth inning.
MINUS: Danny Valencia was hitless in four at-bats, is now 3-for-18 and threatening to get a new batch of bats…Boog Powell got picked off first base after replacing Jarrod Dyson as a pinch-runner in the fifth inning…
STAT PACK: A "B" game held Monday morning against San Diego consisted of work time for several bullpen candidates. Right-handers Nick Vincent and Dan Altavilla each worked one scoreless inning, while lefty Marc Rzepczynski allowed one unearned run in his inning. But righty Shae Simmons took a beating in allowing four runs, three earned, in two-thirds of an inning. He gave up three hits and two walks while throwing just 13 of 29 pitches for strikes.
SPRING BATTLES: In the utilityman competition, Shawn O’Malley started at shortstop and went 1-for-2 with a walk. He is 6-for-18. Motter started at second base and went 1-for-3 with a walk. He is 3-for-12. Mike Freeman replaced O’Malley and had a single in his only at-bat. Freeman is also 3-for-12…left fielder Guillermo Heredia made a diving catch on Adrian Beltre’s sinking line in the third inning.
QUOTABLE: It was Leonys Martin’s 29th birthday on Monday, and the Mariners marked the occasion by hiring a mariachi band to follow him around.
"This is something I’ll never forget in my life," he said. "It means a lot to me."
SHORT HOPS: Povse retired six straight batters in his two innings after one scoreless inning in his spring debut. He is likely headed for Double-A Arkansas…right-hander Cody Martin worked around jams in the sixth and seventh innings by getting strikeouts with runners in scoring position. He is expected to open the season at Triple-A Tacoma…
UP NEXT: The Mariners have the first of three spring open dates Tuesday before returning to action at 6:10 p.m. Pacific time Wednesday to play Cleveland at Peoria Stadium.
Hisashi Iwakuma is slotted for two-to-three innings in his second start, while Ariel Miranda will pitch in relief for the first time after two starts.
It’s a radio-only game: 710 ESPN and mariners.com. Root Sports Northwest won’t televise the game.
DAYS LEFT UNTIL OPENING DAY: 27
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners