Mike Sweeney's two-out RBI single completed a three-run ninth inning rally that lifted Seattle past Kansas City, 10-9. The victory pushed Seattle's Cactus League record to 14-12-2.
Seattle hosts the Colorado Rockies in a 1:05 p.m. game. Probable starters: Aaron Cook vs. Erik Bedard.
David Aardsma and Tyler Walker drew praise from manager Don Wakamatsu in relief, but starter Felix Hernandez was wild – 12 hits and two walks in six innings - and Mark Lowe gave up two runs in the top of th ninth inning to put the team behind, 9-7. "Mark's got to command the strike zone," Wakamatsu said. …
Ichiro Suzuki and Kenji Johjima returned to camp and to the Seattle lineup, and Wakamatsu posted a batting order that could well be the blueprint all season:
Jose Lopez 2B
Ken Griffey Jr. LF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Russell Branyan 1B
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Franklin Guttierrez CF
Four more cuts brought the number of players in camp to 40 players in camp, not counting the injured Ryan Feierabend. Optioned to the minors were pitcher Sean White, catcher Jason Phillips and Adam Moore. Third baseman Matt Tuiasosopo was optioned to Tacoma – and sent out with praise. "I told him I haven't seen a player improve more in six months," Wakamatsu said. "He's not the same player he was late last year. He's better defensively, better at the plate. He's a big part of our future." …
Griffey doesn't have the speed he once had in the outfield, but he's been impressive with a spin move along the left field line. When Coco Crisp singled between third baseman Beltre and the bag in the third inning, Junior got to the ball, picked it up bare handed and threw a strike to second base – sending Crisp scampering back to first. "Yeah, I got that move," he said. "Of course, the first time I did it, it was by accident." …
Felix Hernandez was, by his own reckoning, 'lost' and 'horrible' in his six-inning start, battling his control all day. "It's been 10 days since I pitched (in the World Baseball Classic), and I just wanted to throw strikes," Hernandez said. "I was all over the place. I kept talking to myself – 'Take it easy, come on, let's go' – but I kept competing. I'm ready to go, physically. I'm ready to go, mentally. I just don't pitch well on 10 days rest." … Catcher Jamie Burke was missing and had a marvelous excuse – the birth of his third son, Payson. He flew to Oregon to join his wife, and is expected back in camp today. …
Sweeney had three hits and Ichiro, Endy Chavez, and Guttierrez each had two. …
Brandon Morrow, who pitched an inning on Tuesday, will throw two more in today's game against Colorado. Morrow hit 96-97 mph with regularity in that one inning – but never pitched from a windup. "I'm still more comfortable pitching from the stretch," he said. "I'm working on the windup, but not in the game yet." …
Russell hit his fifth spring home run, matching Mike Wilson for the team lead. Russell is batting .321 this spring. … A year ago, when they played 29 exhibition games, Seattle went 13-16.
From batting coach Alan Cockrell, when asked if he planned on altering anything in Ichiro's swing: "I'd need a lobotomy to change anything."
Tyler Johnson, the lefty who wants to pitch but hasn't all spring – he's coming off shoulder surgery – will pitch a simulated game today. "Holding him back isn't easy," pitching coach Rick Adair said. "If it were up to him, he'd pitch every game the rest of the way."
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